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Rip Off Britain exposes millions of dangerous sofas

(5 Posts)
jennymor123 Thu 11-May-17 15:11:46

"Rip-Off Britain" yesterday featured an article on unsafe sofas:

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08qlkyz/rip-off-britain-series-9-episode-8

The programme showed that while your sofa might carry correct the fire labelling, it is very likely to be flammable. Trading Standards revealed that over 80% of sofas they test fail the 'match test' for cover fabrics. This test should mean that if you drop a small flame (match, candle) on your sofa, any fire should go out within two minutes. The programme went into two of the reasons this doesn't happen (although there are others).

The BBC went a little easy on those who are at fault here. Chiefly, that's the government. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was informed by Trading Standards of this safety issue some years back. BEIS worked on a solution which it published in a consultation in 2014. Unfortunately, this new test, while putting right the problems with the current test, would also have cost the chemical industry many millions per year (in reduced use of flame retardants). It used its considerable clout to block the test - which is still being blocked today.

It also went easy on the flame retardant industry. The fact is that our sofas are stuffed full of chemicals that don't even do the job they're supposed to. Last month, the Sunday Times exposed the fact that millions of us are sitting on sofas full of a highly toxic chemical, DecaBDE, that is now banned.

And, needless to say, we are paying more for our furniture because flame retardants are expensive.

specialsubject Mon 15-May-17 17:49:49

Top tip - be careful with matches.

jennymor123 Mon 15-May-17 19:11:18

Well, that's about as useful as the 'solution' the programme came up with, which is to keep candles away from your sofa.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 15-May-17 19:13:18

Good advice. I don't tend to wave fire around near my furniture.

jennymor123 Mon 15-May-17 20:53:34

Maybe the point is being missed a bit here. I agree that the best way of avoiding sofa fires is not to drop matches or candles on them. However, we are all paying more for our sofas because they are stuffed with flame retardant chemicals that are meant to prevent such fires when you do drop a flame on them. Except that the 'match test' fails anyway, which means we're all breathing in flame retardant dust and thereby in danger of getting cancer and are sofas are still flammable.

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