Mattress Fires Reduced
A switch from polyurethane to foam mattresses made of Du Pont neoprene in the Los Angeles jail system has reduced the incident of vandalism and fire to the mattresses. According to the sheriff’s department, in 1979 more than 350 polyurethane mattresses were destroyed by inmates monthly. Since the replacement program in 1980, about 10 mattresses are vandalized monthly, and five to seven of them can be salvaged.
The fire prevention bureau of the Los Angeles County Fire Department tested 30 mattresses made of various materials for flammability, toxic gas release and amount of smoke when burning. Neoprene doesn’t easily support flame, and its density discourages ripping.