Blow out sales prices likely on mattresses as new U.S. fire-resistant standards take effect

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If you are in the market for new bedding, and not too concerned with the new United States guidelines for mattress fire resistance, now might be a good time to buy. Mattresses sold in the U.S. must meet new federal guidelines for flammability starting on July 1.

The peak heat release rate is limited to 200 kW during a 30 minute test. The total heat release is limited to 15 MJ within the first 10 minutes.”

The flammability of mattress sets sold in the U.S. is subject to a new mandatory federal regulation requirement passed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on February 16 last year. The requirement, costing mattress manufacturers an estimated $100 million to meet, is scheduled to take effect on July 1. The commission anticipates that the new standards will save 270 lives and 1,330 injuries per year from mattress fires.

“We’ve passed a new open flame regulation and the whole idea behind the regulation is to make sure that if a mattress catches on fire that the fire burns slowly enough that people have enough time to get out of the house and get away,” said Hal Stratton, chairman of the CPSC

Radio and TV advertising spots are reacting to the new regulation by discounting prices on mattresses that fail to meet the new guidelines. Sales made in the mattress industry, like the automobile industry, are highly negotiable on price. The new regulation does not appear to have much “teeth” for mattresses already in the distribution pipeline, but it is a new law that is a bargaining position for potential buyers.

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