Over the past 100 years, there has been tremendous progress in the area of fire safety. The number of lives lost due to fire has been reduced thanks to these fire safety advancements. However, as we all know, progress is unstoppable, and at UL we must continue to work to stay ahead of new advancements.
Fires burn differently today than they did in years past – hotter and faster. The evolution is largely attributed to the change in residential structures over the last several decades, with larger homes and more open floor plans, a focus on higher energy efficiency and increased use of synthetic building materials. Today’s fire safety requires a complex system of prevention and firefighting tools, procedures and behaviors, and UL relies on extensive research and new science to evolve these areas.
Home safety is a multifaceted challenge, and as we look to the next 100 years, we need to look at all dimensions of safety, including human health. From potential risks originating from hazardous chemicals in our home furnishings and construction materials to the release of in-home pollutants that affect our indoor air quality, human health is an area we are looking to address and balance with other legacy issues such as fire safety.
Eighty thousand chemicals are used every day to manufacture products. Research shows that a number of these chemicals may have unintended consequences for human health. No matter the issue, at UL we always advocate for the safest outcome and pride ourselves on helping to protect people in their living and working environments.
As the global leader in safety, we believe we have an important role to play in bringing the right stakeholders together on areas such as human health. As a consensus-driven organization, we converge varying viewpoints from policy makers, health officials, product manufacturers and consumers with a singular mission to make safety the top priority. We will work together on new research and innovations to move toward products that are affordable, safe and sustainable.
Furniture Flammability and Human Health Summit
One way that UL is working towards advancing safety convergence is by participating in an annual scientific thought leadership series on Furniture Flammability and Human Health.
Co-conveners at this year’s event include UL, the Centers for Disease Control, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the United States Fire Administration. An esteemed group of scientists, health professionals and leadership organizations will examine legislative initiatives, chemical exposure and fire suppression research. The summit discusses product safety with regard to achieving flammability protection while preventing hazardous chemical exposures.