New AHFA website addresses furniture flammability questions
Gary Evans -- Furniture Today, November 25, 2013
HIGH POINT — The American Home Furnishings Alliance is launching a new web site today to correspond with tonight's airing of "Toxic Hot Seat," an HBO documentary about the use of fire-retardant chemicals in furniture.
The new site at www.toxic-hot-seat.com provides consumers with answers to frequently asked questions about upholstered furniture flammability.
The documentary shows the influence of chemical companies and the tobacco industry on upholstered furniture flammability standards in the United States, AHFA officials said. It is set against the backdrop of the 2012 Chicago Tribune investigative report "Playing with Fire," a series described by AHFA as alleging that "fraudulent testimony, distorted science and tainted research were employed by tobacco and chemical industry advocates to create the standard and later to derail any legislative efforts to update or revise it."
"The documentary follows the Chicago Tribune's lead, unraveling decades of manipulation that the producers say convinced fire safety official to back a standard that, in effect, required all upholstered furniture to contain flame retardants," said AFHA CEO Andy Counts.
According to AHFA, the HBO documentary and the Tribune series do not address the residential furniture industry's 40-year effort to promote a standard designed to make upholstered furniture more fire-safe without the use of flame retardant chemicals.
In 1978, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council developed construction guidelines that set requirements for fabric, decking, barrier filling/padding, deck trim and welt cord that combine to make upholstered furniture resistant to ignition by a smoldering cigarette.
AHFA maintains that all available data from the 1970s through 2012 shows that a majority of home fires involving furniture were ignited by a cigarette. New California flammability standards, announced by Gov. Jerry Brown last week and taking effect on Jan. 1, are "based largely on the UFAC construction and materials guideline that AHFA has advocated for nearly 40 years," officials said.
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