Flammability Issues
National Cotton Batting Institute
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CPSC Commissioner Commends Cotton Batting Institute’s Certification Program; Updates Bedding Products Organizations on Flammability Issues

Memphis — Thomas H. Moore, one of three CPSC commissioners, congratulated the National Cotton Batting Institute (NCBI), the Futon Association International and the Specialty Sleep Products Association for their efforts to encourage mattress and futon manufacturers and retailers to sell only complying products.

Moore, addressing a flammability issues seminar sponsored by the three organizations in Orlando, FL, updated the groups about CPSC’s activities on small flame testing involving bedding products/mattresses and upholstered furniture and the possibility of a mandatory flammability standard for upholstered furniture.

Moore said he knew of the groups’ concerns about compliance with the current mattress flammability standard.

“I know, from their visits to the Commission, that both the National Cotton Batting Institute and Futon Association International are very concerned about compliance with the current mattress flammability standard,” Moore told the 100-plus participants. “The various programs such as the NCBI Upholstered Furniture Action Council quality assurance program and the third-party certification program that NBCI has instituted with Underwriters Laboratories attest to that. You are to be congratulated for your efforts to encourage manufacturers and retailers to sell only complying products.”

NCBI’s certification program requires its members to submit to quarterly, unannounced UL inspections that include testing for cigarette ignition resistance, smolder resistance and open flame resistance.

“Third-party certification and good quality control…will go a long way to solve the compliance problems,” Moore said. “Safety is not an area where you want to take short cuts to get a price advantage over your competitors.”

In updating the groups on the CPSC’s rule making to address both mattress, futon and upholstered furniture fires, Moore said the focus has shifted from cigarette ignition fires, which have decreased dramatically in the past 25 years, to fires started by small open flames, principally by lighters and matches.

He said furniture flammability tests and toxicity and durability testing of fire retardant fabric treatments must be completed before any proposed flammability standards are offered for upholstered furniture. CPSC also must address whether futons would be included in the proposal.

Regarding mattresses, futons and bedding, the CPSC commissioner said the sleep products industry is sponsoring tests to evaluate a “real world” small open flame fire that takes into account bedding products, such as sheets and blankets, which can affect fire behavior.

“It is hoped that the results of this testing, which should be available in the next few months, will provide some guidance on possible strategies for addressing small open flame fire in mattresses,” Moore said.

He also reminded the participants that it is the responsibility of retailers and distributors of mattresses and futons to “know your suppliers” and make them provide testing reports stating that the products meet the federal flammability standard.



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