WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted unanimously to propose a new mandatory standard concerning residential upholstered furniture.
The CPSC said the goal of the proposed standard is to prevent ignition or slow the spread and intensity of upholstered furniture fires. The commission said such U.S. fires cause about $1.6 billion in damage each year.
The CPSC staff estimated the proposed standard, once fully effective, would prevent approximately 100 deaths and 130 injuries every year.
"Fires involving upholstered furniture are a leading cause of fire-related deaths in U.S. homes," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Stopping a furniture fire in its tracks or slowing its spread would buy consumers precious time to get out of their homes."
Under the proposal, manufacturers would have to use smolder-resistant cover fabrics or interior fire resistant barriers to protect the furniture's internal filling material, which is the primary fuel in an upholstered furniture fire.
The CPSC said its objective is to reduce the fire risk in upholstered furniture without requiring the use of fire retardant chemicals.