WASHINGTON, D.C. – The staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today presented to the Commissioners a draft proposed fire safety standard for mattresses:
Part 1 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt1.pdf
Part 2 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt2.pdf
Part 3 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt3.pdf
Part 4 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt4.pdf
Part 5 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt5.pdf
Part 6 (PDF) http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/brief/mattressespt6.pdf
The draft proposed standard addresses fires ignited by an open flame that typically involves the bedclothes. The CPSC staff also recommended an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to develop a standard for bedclothes flammability.
From 1995 through 1999, mattresses and bedding were the first items to ignite in an estimated 19,400 residential fires each year. These fires resulted in an estimated 440 deaths, 2,230 injuries, and $273.9 million property loss annually. Staff estimates that most of these deaths and injuries would be addressed by the draft proposed standard.
The mattress standard would limit the size of the fire and prevent or delay the time to flashover (when the entire contents of the room ignite). This would allow more time to escape the fire and reduce deaths and injuries. Information available to the staff indicates that materials are commercially available that can be used to produce comfortable, practical, and reasonably priced mattresses with significantly improved fire performance.
CPSC staff analyzed test results and concluded that certain bedclothes, once ignited, can be major contributors to the size of a fire. Staff recommended that the Commissioners begin rulemaking proceedings to set standards to limit the size of fires produced by these bedclothes. This would preserve the additional escape time afforded by the draft proposed mattress standard.
The CPSC Commissioners will consider the staff’s draft proposed standard and will vote on whether or not to publish the proposed standard in the Federal Register. No timetable for the vote has been decided.