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Bean Bag Chair Designs Have Improved

Feb 4, 2008
Many of us remember the days when bean bag chairs had sort of a mixed reputation. While they were new, comfortable and seemingly all the rage, they were not without their problems. The basic design of the bean bag chair was fairly simple. A large bag was filled with very tiny polystyrene beads and either sewn shut or had a zipper.

What aggravated many people was the propensity of the zippers or the sewn seams to fail on some chairs. You get home from a hard days work and flop in your comfy bean bag. Suddenly the air is filled with tiny white beads and you feel as though you are in a winter wonderland.

The tiny beads are made of polystyrene and are very reactive to static electricity. Much in the same way that foam packing material seems to stick to everything, the beads were worse. The pesky beads would end up scattered throughout the room. The task of cleaning up thousands of tiny plastic beads was not easy. It was not uncommon to find the beads even months after the eruption of your favorite chair. The work involved in replacing the beads was nearly as aggravating as the blizzard of white plastic.

Now contrary to what we might think, the tiny plastic beads are not known to be toxic. In spite of being fairly benign, the tiny plastic beads could be the source of other serious problems. It was discovered that the tiny beads could be inhaled by small children and household pets. If the beads were inhaled, there was a substantial likelihood that the beads could become embedded in the sinus cavities or worse, in the lungs. Again, because the beads are not thought to be toxic, ingesting them was not necessarily harmless. Young children and pets could choke on the beads.

In response to concerns and complaints from consumers, makers of bean bag chairs were forced to respond. One design change that was adopted by manufacturers was really very simple. Rather than rely on the outer cover to hold the beads, a second inner bag was added. This change alone allowed manufacturers to use different materials for the outer cover. Instead of just using vinyl, other materials like faux fur, denim corduroy and other fabric covers became very popular. Consumers seemed to like the changes too. The outer cover could be removed for cleaning without the risk of chasing little white plastic beads for months on end.

Even though many manufacturers made changes to the design of their bean bag chairs, problems with the release of the stuffing beads persisted through the years. As time went on, a series of product recalls drove the effort to make the bean bag chair safer. Consumer products are usually the result of two things. The first is when a manufacturer voluntarily initiates a recall. The purpose of the recall is to prevent the further distribution of suspect products and to compensate consumers for their inconvenience. In the other scenario, a product recall is the result of action taken by a government agency.

In the case of bean bag chairs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an agency of the United States government, initiated recalls of several brands of bean bag chairs. One notable case involved the zippers used in the chair. The zipper was designed in such a way that young children could unzip the chair, releasing the beads. As a result of the recall, the company made the needed the design changes to the zipper. In order to make the point about how serious the problem was, the CPSC issued a series of guidelines that manufacturers could use to make sure that their products were in compliance.

Beanbag chairs are more popular than ever and thanks to the efforts of manufacturers and government, bean bag chairs are safer too.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store FineWebStores.com.
Shop for BeanBag Chairs and College Logo Bean Bag Chairs for your home, kids room or recreation room. Please visit FineWebStores.com today.
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