Consumer opinions regarding a flammability standard for upholstered furniture

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Virginia Tech

In an effort to determine consumer opinions concerning a proposed standard for upholstered furniture, a consumer survey was conducted in June, 1977. One-hundred-three women completed a self-administered questionnaire. Information collected by the questionnaire included background information, consumer opinions, and experiences with fire. Since no significant relationships were found among variables, the data were analyzed by the use of frequency counts.

The sample of women respondents was found to be composed mainly of middle aged, middle class women. Education of the sample was fairly high, nearly the entire sample had at least a high school education. Approximately half of the sample was employed either full-time or part-time.

Consumer knowledge revealed by the questionnaire was that most respondents had some awareness of at least one flammability standard for textile products. Generally, most felt that the flame resistant quality in texti1e products was important. Responsbi1ity for protecting consumers from flammable upholstered furniture was placed on fabric manufacturers, furniture manufacturers or the government. The sample also generally responded that the government should pass laws to protect consumers or educate the public about the hazards of flammable upholstered furniture. Although most respondents did not feel it was consumers' responsibility to protect themselves against flammable upholstered furniture, most were willing to pay extra for the protection when buying upholstered furniture. Yet very few were willing to pay the amount estimated to be the added cost of making upholstered furniture flame resistant.

Results of this research indicate that middle class, middle income, fairly well educated women are in favor of a flammability standard for upholstered furniture, but are not willing to pay the entire added cost of this protection. Although most of them were aware of flammability standards, most needed to be better educated as to which products have standards regarding flame resistance and which do not.

government imposed standards