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CPSC will consider upholstered furniture flammability standards.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously last month to consider the development of federal standards to reduce the risk of upholstered furniture fires started by lighted cigarettes and small, open flames.

Over the years, the furniture industry has opposed the creation of federal standards for upholstered furniture flammability performance. Furnituremakers formed the Upholstered Furniture Action Council in the late 1970s and drafted a voluntary standard for cigarette ignition resistance.

California has its own furniture flammability rules.

The CPSC said some industry groups and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls are in favor of a federal guideline to address both open flame and cigarette ignitions. The American Furniture Manufacturers Assn. is working with the CPSC on the matter.

Fires that involve upholstered furniture account for more deaths than in any other category of products under CPSC's jurisdiction, the commission said. In 1998, there were 420 deaths, 1,080 injuries and $120 million in property losses. Eighty deaths were attributed to fires started by children playing with lighters or matches, and 340 to those that began with smoldering cigarettes, the CPSC said.

"Reducing residential fires is a major goal at the Consumer Product Safety Commission," said Chairman Hal Stratton. "New fire reducing technologies and better cooperation from industry are making the development, of a new national standard viable. I believe a standard for upholstered furniture will reduce home fires while remaining cost effective and flexible for manufacturers and consumers."
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Title Annotation:Trends & News
Author:Lorimor, Susan
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Previous Article:Congressmen seek President Bush's support on furniture issues.
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