New UL Guide provides detailed information on fire risks, fire protection and flame retardants for upholstered furniture. “Managing Fire and Chemical Exposure Risks of Residential Upholstered Furniture” provides over 40 pages of detailed information (over 110 references) on fire risks of upholstered furniture in the home, flame retardants used in furniture, risk and exposure, fire tests and solutions for fire safety including inherently low flammability textiles and fillings, flame retardants and active and passive fire barriers. The document notes that upholstered furniture is still today the most common first item ignited for residential fire deaths, and that the death rate from furniture fires is increasing. Modern furniture fabrics, blending synthetic and natural fibres, are more flammable than either pure natural or pure synthetic textiles. Polymeric and reactive flame retardants and fire barriers are indicated as technologies to limit chemical exposure. The Guide indicates ($3.3.4) that fire barriers can be effective in protecting upholstered furniture, but may be insufficient to delay burning rate adequately to allow occupant escape and fire service response before flashover, especially if pyrolysis products cross the barrier.
“Managing Fire and Chemical Exposure Risks of Residential Upholstered Furniture”, Chemical Insights (an institute of Underwriters Laboratories) with the “Sustainable Furnishings Council” https://sustainablefurnishings.org/, UL 118F, 21st April 2021 https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/uli-cip042121.php