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Scientific Research

In recent years alone, the cutting-edge research we've sponsored has made important contributions to fire and sleep safety.

In the 1990s, we supported a full-scale mattress burn project at the California Bureau of Home Furnishings laboratory. This extensive project resulted in the development of a full-scale test protocol for mattresses that can be used in institutional settings. This protocol was adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

We've also taken the lead in indoor air-quality research, supporting this emerging science to uncover any potential hazards associated with emissions from sleep products. In 1995, we released the results of our study on the potential health effects of chemical emissions from new bedding sets. This study, which was examined by an independent review board of environmental and health scientists, showed that there were no acute health risks for normal or convalescing individuals.

Our most recent research was conducted in partnership with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and explored whether it is possible to develop a federal standard that addresses mattress resistance to open flames, such as lighters, matches and candles. This multi-phased effort began in 1999 and entailed a thorough, scientific evaluation of fire characteristics of the entire bedding ensemble, such as blankets, pillows and other bedding items, in addition to mattresses.

This precedent-setting study is now complete and the results and research protocols have been evaluated by the CPSC.

Gas Burner Apparatus

During the Phase I Research, NIST developed a test device consisting of 2 gas burners that reliably simulates the fire that results when a mattress and box-spring are ignited by burning bedclothes. This apparatus is important in allowing researchers to replicate "real world" bedroom fire scenarios. In a letter to the California Bureau of Home Furnishings dated November 14, 2002, the SPSC has explained its reasons on behalf of the mattress industry for officially supporting the use of the NIST burner to test the open-flame resistance of mattresses and box-springs used in residential settings.

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