Flammable Furniture Presents Hidden, but Deadly, Threat Your Household
The United States Consumer Safety Commission reports that on average each month 55 people die in fires where upholstered furniture is the first household object ignited. While the cause of these fires varies, upholstered furniture is one of the most flammable items in the American home and is often involved in spreading the fire. Sadly, in just four minutes a sofa fire can engulf an entire living room in flames, filing the home with thick, dark smoke and toxic gases. According to the National Fire Protection Association, these temperatures can exceed 1400 degrees Fahrenheit in this short period of time.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated that the polyurethane foam material found in many couches and sofas poses the most serious fire hazard found in American homes. Despite the threat flammable furniture presents to the household, sometimes manufacturers do not even test the furniture for flammability. In fact, it would actually be very easy and cheap for manufacturers to produce a flame resistant alternative, or at the minimum provide adequate safety warnings and labels. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that consumer protection is simply not a top priority in this industry. For example, the furniture in places like airplanes, nursing homes, and even prisons is required to be fire resistant, and therefore likely more safe than the furniture in the average American home. The fact that manufacturers do so little to ensure the safety of the products they place into the stream of commerce is simply outrageous.
As of 2015, only the state of California has effectuated strong safety regulations for upholstered furniture in homes. After the passage of these standards in the 1970s, there was a 25% drop in deaths involving upholstered furniture beyond the national average. Statistics like that are indicative of both the need for federal law applying to all states as well as the feasibility for manufacturers to produce a safer product for our homes.
If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective product, do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced attorneys at Swartz & Lynch LLP. You may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have incurred.