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Flammable and Deadly Products

Mar 20, 2008
It has been known for decades in the furniture industry that the design and manufacture of upholstered furniture with polyurethane foam is unsafe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has estimated that over 800 people die every year in fires where upholstered furniture was the first item ignited. In just a matter of minutes a sofa fire can turn a living room into an inferno which fills the house with thick dark smoke and toxic gases which inhibit and prevent the occupants from escaping the fire.

Temperatures from upholstered furniture fires can exceed 1400 degrees within minutes. If you are in prison, a hospital, on an airplane, living in California or the United Kingdom, your chances of surviving a furniture fire are dramatically higher as fire retardant foam is required in these places. In California, a state that adopted flame retardant foam standards "California Foam" in the 1970's, there has been a 25 percent drop in deaths involving upholstered furniture beyond the national average.

Polyurethane has been dubbed "solid gasoline" by numerous fire marshals. Once ignited, the foam will burn rapidly at temperatures in excess of 1400 degrees. Most significantly, when it decomposes and burns, it emits hydrogen cyanide gases, a fatal asphyxiate. Hydrogen cyanide produces anoxia (absence of oxygen). When it is combined with carbon monoxide, the effects of the hydrogen cyanide are multiplied. An individual may become disoriented in this type of situation, which could increase the risk of death. Ensuring the materials of furniture in a home is one way to prepare and protect oneself from such a threat.

Statistics clearly indicate that the greatest threat to building occupants is the spread and exposure to toxic gases. This becomes highly significant where the victims of the fire were attempting to escape, but due to the effects of the toxic gases the normal escape responses become impaired and, accordingly, increase the lethal aspect of a fire. The limited escape time and the failure to appreciate the extreme hazards of rapid flame spread and propagation leads, often times, to tragic consequences.

Individuals who may have flammable furniture should replace the furniture to ensure safety and may want to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide insight into how these unsafe items made it to market with so little warning from manufacturers. Additionally, keeping at least one, if not more, fire extinguishers in the home as well as checking batteries on smoke detectors is imperative in case a fire should ever occur.
About the Author
Learn more at www.LegalView.com/. Also use this resource online legal asset to learn about the latest U.S. Food and Drug Administration such as the Baxter-Heparin recall, which can be found at http://baxter-heparin.legalview.com, to the Chantix side effects.
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