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View Diary: Danger Lurks in That Mickey Mouse Couch (33 comments)

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  •  Correcting posts about cigs and kids cotton pjs (0+ / 0-)

    (I apologize for such a long comment)

    I have worked for nearly 35 years to pass fire safe cigarette laws opposed by the cig industry.  I will try to put to rest a few misconceptions regarding how cigs burn and how they are made to self-extinguish.  And, I will comment on misconceptions about children's cotton pajamas and fire safety.

    Cig corporations did not add chemicals to cigs to keep them burning and, therefore, guarantee planned obsolescence for their product.  Rather, cig paper manufacturers add calcium citrate (and a few similar chemicals) to the paper to keep the cigarette paper burning EVENLY.  The factor that keeps the cig burning and NOT self-extinguishing is the POROSITY of the paper; i.e., whether oxygen can flow through the paper to "feed" the burning coal--no oxygen, no burning, cig goes out.  Thus, the way the cig corps. are complying with fire safety standards in the U.S., Canada, the EU and other countries, is by (nearly) totally reducing the porosity of the cig paper in two places; an 1/8" wide band about 3/4" from the unlit end of the cig and another 1/8" band about 3/4" farther away from the unlit end.  When the cig is lit and the burning coal reaches the band (of non-porous paper), the cig will self-extinguish due to the lack of oxygen.  The smoker can keep the cig lit if the cig is puffed on while the coal is at the band.  The cig will self -extinguish  (but not always--nothing is 100% fire safe) when dropped on furniture or beds, etc.  If one takes a cig and removes the tobacco, cuts the paper lengthwise and holds the paper up to the light, the two bands are readily visible since less light goes through the paper.  

    Cig companies were urged to make self-extinguishing cigs beginning with Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers' (MA) efforts beginning in 1929.  The first U.S. patent describing the "band" method to make cigs self-extinguish to prevent fires was issued in 1932.  Bottom line: as we all know, the cig corps knew clearly since the 1940s/50s that their product killed by poisoning the user AND they knew how to prevent the fire deaths and injuries caused by their product since the early 1930s.

    FYI:  I appear in Toxic Hot Seat describing some other nefarious actions by the tobacco industry.  

    Lastly, there is another post that states that "sizing" is added to cotton pajamas and that is the cause for pjs being flammable.  Untrue.  Cotton is flammable, period.  The commenter's nephew who was burned was likely wearing non-compliant pjs that don't meet the 1973 and 1975 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's fire safety standards.  Kids pjs (up to size 14) made out of modacrylic and other synthetic fibers are fire-RESISTANT and meet the federal fire safety standard.  As a result, children burned in their pjs has become a very rare event in the U.S.  Flame retardant chemicals have not been used in kids pjs since mid-1977 after Blum & Ames published their paper in Science about Tris, the same flame retardant chemical now used in furniture and other products and discussed in Toxic Hot Seat.  

    To make matters even more complicated, over a decade ago, the CPSC changed the standard for children's pjs and allowed "tight fitting" pjs to meet the fire safety standard on the theory that if a kid was in tight fitting pjs, oxygen would be in short supply and, therefore, the pjs (cotton pjs that is) couldn't/wouldn't ignite.  I testified before CPSC against the change--pushed by the cotton industry--stating that "who buys tight fitting clothes for growing kids?"  The CPSC ruled for the cotton industry.  So far, it has been nearly impossible to get meaningful data showing the increase in burns in kids with tight fitting cotton pjs but, the nephew mentioned above could possibly have been in  "fire safety compliant" pjs that were extra large and susceptible to ignition.  Again, bottom line: stay away from cotton or cotton/polyester blend pjs by checking the label.  I know.  I was severely burned at age 7 when my cotton pjs and cotton robe quickly ignited and burned furiously.

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