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fire retardant laws, uk vs usa 24 Dec 2016 10:36 #1

  • heywannaplay
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Hi
I wondered if anyone could educate me on the difference in fire retardant laws between the UK and USA. I ask because i was going to get a casper mattress as in the usa they are with a latex top layer. However im told the UK version is polyfoam because they said that when they sprayed the latex one to comply with uk law i ruined the feel of the latex. Does any of this make any sense to anyone? Clearly other manufacturers have no problem with their latex in the uk, Other than a cost cutting measure could their reason right true at all?

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fire retardant laws, uk vs usa 24 Dec 2016 16:28 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi heywannaplay,

I wondered if anyone could educate me on the difference in fire retardant laws between the UK and USA.

This site focuses primarily on the North American market, so I don’t have too much experience with the UK regulations.

In the US we have 16 CFR Part 1633 and 1632 that must be passed for mattresses.

In the UK, the National Bed Federation (NBF) has a summary of their legal framework. Here’s the Guide to the UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations. Here’s another guide to the UK fire safety requirements, which includes information about mattresses. Mattresses must pass the “domestic use (low hazard)” provisions of BS 7177 and BS 5852: 1982 Part II. Here is a bit more information about the tests.
ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint 1: bedfed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/flammability-regulations.pdf| Archived Footprint 2: fira.co.uk/images/FIRA-Contract-Flammability-Guide-PDF.pdf

However im told the UK version is polyfoam

The UK Casper mattress is a four-layer foam product, using a polyfoam core, a transition layer of polyfoam, a layer of memory foam, and it is topped off with a piece of polyfoam. You’d certainly want to find out the densities and thicknesses of these layers before making a decision on a purchase.

because they said that when they sprayed the latex one to comply with uk law i ruined the feel of the latex.

A dramatic change of feel by spraying a fire retardant onto the foam sounds odd to me.

I don’t have any personal information on the reasoning for the change in design of the Casper mattress for the UK market, but it certainly could be the added cost of meeting the UK standards when using latex, which would normally involve being treated with a chemical fire retardant or treated/covered with a mineral graphite layer. They may also have been attempting to achieve a different feel in a different market (their UK mattress is BS 7177 and Crib-5 (BS552 compliant)). That would be a question best addressed to Casper directly, which you certainly could do on their UK site . While it doesn’t state what is used, Casper does use fire retardant additives in their UK mattresses.

Clearly other manufacturers have no problem with their latex in the uk,

They have to pass the same flammability standards mentioned above, which may not have dovetailed with the intended market for the Casper mattress in the UK. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say it was more of a marketing/segment/pricing decision, and not a difficulty in passing fire regulations while maintaining comfort.

I hope that information is helpful to you!

Phoenix
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