CPSC Taking Comments on Glass-Front Gas Fireplaces

Two petitions ask for rulemakings to warn consumers that the glass can reach high temperatures, posing a burn risk.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is taking comments on two petitions asking it to begin a rulemaking to address burn hazards associated with gas vented fireplaces with a glass front. Comments are due by August 8, 2011, either via www.regulations.gov (Docket No. CPSC-2011-0028) or by mail, preferably in five copies, to: Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814.

The contact for additional information is Rockelle Hammond at CPSC, phone 301-504-6833.

The first petition came from Carol Pollack-Nelson, Ph.D., and was dated May 23, 2011. She said the industry standard for gas vented fireplace heaters allows glass fronts to reach temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and these glass fronts are accessible to children. She claimed that CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database showed more than 2,000 children ages 5 and younger suffered burn injuries on gas fireplaces between 1999 and March 2009. Saying the hazard posed by gas fireplaces is due to a combination of factors, "including the high surface temperature of the fireplace glass, the accessible location of the glass front, the attractiveness of fire to young children, and the lack of consumer awareness of the hazard," she asked for a mandatory standard requiring a passive intervention, such as an "integral safety screen," to protect children.

The second petition from William S. Lerner asked CPSC to require a "high temperature warning system" that will "project a clear high temperature alert onto the glass front of the fireplace that will remain visible from the time the fireplace is lit until the glass is cool enough to touch safely."

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