Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- Albemarle Corp. has commented approvingly on recent efforts announced by California Governor Brown, the California Bureau of Home Furnishings and the Senate Appropriations Committee to assess the need for improvements in fire safety standards for home furnishings.
"California should be congratulated for their pioneering standard-setting efforts of 1975, which focused on ignition of furniture foam by an open flame," said Dr David Clary, Albemarle chief sustainability officer, in a company statement.
Clary said Albemarle is "encouraged that fire safety standards are being revisited after 35 years because fire remains a very real problem in the United States," quoting National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data that shows that in the US, "fires currently cause one civilian death every 2 hours 49 minutes, an injury every 30 minutes, and one building fire every 65 seconds."
California's fire safety standards for home furnishings are laid down in Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117), which recognises open flames as an important source of home fires. According to the NFPA, during 2005 to 2009, open flames caused more than one in five of the upholstered furniture fires and 12 percent of the associated deaths in the US, said Albemarle.
Albemarle added that recent study funded by the US government shows fire safety standards that address open flames as a source of fires provide increased escape time and the highest level of safety.
The supplier of flame retardants also notes that regulatory efforts since 1975 have shown that California TB117 can be improved. In 1988, the UK published a stricter standard which considers different sources of ignition and both the fabric and the foam cushioning of the furniture under real world conditions.
UK research indicates that by 2007, there were 37 percent fewer furniture fires each year and a 64-percent reduction in deaths from furniture fires.
Albemarle says it supports efforts to strengthen fire safety standards and is committed to delivering fire safety solutions based on sound science.