Girgenti Mattress Bill Springs Past Senate

Measure Would Require 30-Minute Open-Flame Resistance Test

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator John A. Girgenti, to require mattresses and box springs to meet a 30-minute open-flame resistance test was approved by the full Senate today.

“Mattresses are implicated in thousands of fires each year,” said Senator Girgenti, D-Bergen and Passaic. “These fires cause millions of dollars in property damage along with numerous injuries and even fatalities. Because mattress fires are the cause of more than twice the number of injuries and deaths than any other type of residential fire, it is important that regulations are put in place immediately to test and raise the flammability standards in order to protect the residents of New Jersey.”

Senator Girgenti’s bill, S-134, would use a pass/fail performance criteria and standard testing method. The bill would also mandate that the Commissioner of Community Affairs and the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs develop rules concerning the enforcement of the measure’s provisions.

“Stricter open-flame flammability tests are vital to the safety of our residents,” said Senator Girgenti. “The town of Roxbury experienced a devastating loss when a 14-month-old toddler, Matthew Albrecht, died in a fire that was started when a spark from an electrical outlet caused the mattress to ignite. With laws in place to test the open-flame flammability of mattresses, other tragic deaths like Matthew’s can be avoided.”

Senator Girgenti noted that current federal law only requires that mattresses resist ignition from a smoldering type of fire such as those commonly started by cigarettes. The federal standards do not require that mattresses resist ignition from open-flames, which cause the largest number of mattress fires, added Senator Girgenti.

The bill now heads to the full Assembly for consideration.

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