Chemical Insights Research Institute Publications

(ATLANTA, GA) April 27, 2022 – Residential fires can be devastating and result in the loss of lives and homes. The National Fire Protection Association said between 2015 and 2019, US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 346,800 house fires per year, with an average of 2,620 civilian fatalities. Upholstered furniture has been identified as one of the main items prone to igniting in residential fires resulting in tragic deaths.

Through rigorous research, the Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) at Underwriters Laboratories has identified that the use of fire barriers in furniture design is a simple and straightforward way to prevent and delay furniture ignition. upholstered; giving more time for occupants to evacuate and for first responders to arrive and put out the fire, thereby saving lives.

Traditionally, chemical flame retardants have been added to upholstery and upholstery to prevent or slow ignition. But with the recognition of the human health risks associated with the use of flame retardants, alternative fire protection strategies are needed. To help address this important issue, CIRI publishes several application tools to inform and guide residential interior designers on how to specify a fire barrier without the need for flame retardants in finished furniture. This win-win application reduces the health risks associated with the use of chemical flame retardants while reducing the flammability hazards of upholstered furniture.

“We are still seeing too many destructive and life-threatening house fires so intense that occupants have only minutes to escape. We want to share our research and suggested strategies related to upholstered furniture with interior designers, specifiers, retailers and manufacturers so they can positively impact the safety of their customers’ homes,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, Vice President and Senior Technical Advisor at CIRI.

“CIRI’s scientific research provides key information to designers when specifying products,” said Gary Wheeler, CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). “Through this research, designers are able to support products that will not only look good and perform well, but also contribute to a healthy and safe environment.”

Sharing knowledge that protects human health is at the heart of CIRI’s mission. That’s why they’re proud to announce that ASID is offering Chemical Insights’ Continuing Education (CE) course, “Specifying Residential Upholstered Furniture to Protect Human Health,” and a toolkit on its Resource Catalog. ASID Academy.

This continuing education course and other valuable tools build on CIRI’s ongoing research projects on flame retardants and furniture flammability and their impact on human health.


About the Chemical Insights Research Institute

Chemical Insights Research Institute (CIRI) of Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to scientific research, publication, education and communication about environmental exposures resulting from technologies and practices, their impact on human health and risk reduction processes. The CIRI provides actionable data to help manufacturers, educators, healthcare providers and consumers make informed decisions about environmental health.

Our work lets people around the world know what chemicals are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the products we interact with every day. Our leadership role is to provide the science or knowledge needed to implement improved practices, alternative product design and changes that enable safer products and healthier environments. To learn more, please visit

About Research Institutes Underwriters Laboratories

The Research Institutes of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. are nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing the public safety mission of Underwriters Laboratories through scientific discovery. With best-in-class experts, we are the first institutes in the world to conduct scientific research and explore the limits of technology to be the first to discover and act on emerging risks to human security. For more information, visit

About ASID

The American Society of Interior Designers believes that design transforms lives. ASID serves the entire interior design profession and practice through the Society’s programs, networks and advocacy. We thrive on the strength of cross-functional and cross-disciplinary relationships between designers from all specialties, including workplace, healthcare, retail and hospitality, education, institutional and residential. We lead interior designers in shared conversations on important topics, from evidence-based and human-centered design to social responsibility, well-being and sustainability. We highlight the impact of design on the human experience and the value that interior designers bring.

ASID was founded over 40 years ago when two organizations became one, but its legacy dates back to the early 1930s. As we celebrate nearly 85 years of industry leadership, we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the benefits of local connections with national reach, small businesses with big ones, and the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal. Learn more at

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