SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

California has adopted new flammability standards for furniture and other products that will allow manufacturers to stop using chemical flame retardants.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday said the new standards were a badly needed update to nearly 40-year old rules that led to the widespread use of chemicals known as PBDEs.

Brown said the new standards will keep furniture in homes fire-safe while limiting chemical exposure.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says animal studies show PBDEs can affect brain development, but human health effects are still unknown.

California is the only state with a mandatory residential furniture flammability standard, a rule that has become the de facto standard for the rest of the nation.

The rules require manufacturers to be in compliance by Jan. 1, 2015.