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Washington Outlook Archive
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Government Issues Mattress Flammability Standard

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a new mattress flammability standard that it says will reduce deaths and injuries caused by mattress fires and restrict some of the liability faced by manufacturers.

Calling the standard “one of the most important ever developed by CPSC,” the agency said it could save as many as 270 lives, and prevent 1,330 injuries annually attributed to mattress fires. CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton said: “Consumers who purchase a new mattress that meets this standard will add an important layer of fire safety protection to their homes. Lives will be saved as a result of this standard, as it requires new mattresses to limit the spread and intensity of mattress fires, which will give people time to escape from their residences.”

The standard, which addresses mattress fires ignited by open flame sources, including matches, candles, lighter and other related products, will go into effect July 1, 2007. The regulation offers manufacturers some flexibility as it does not specify exactly how they must meet the standard. It gives them the opportunity to choose among a range of components. At the same time, it give consumers a broad range of choices for comfort, price and aesthetic performance.

The standard is expected to reduce lawsuits against manufacturers stemming from fires as it preempts some, but not all, state and local flammability regulations. 

February 21, 2006