In 1992, 13 children ages 14 and under died from scald burn-related injuries.
EXPOSURE TIME TO RECEIVE A SEVERE BURN

Celsius
Temperature
Fahrenheit
Temperature
2nd Degree
Burn
No
Irreversible
Damage
3rd Degree
Burn
Full
Thickness
Injury
45° 113° 2 hours 3 hours
47° 116.6° 20 minutes 45 minutes
48° 118.4° 15 minutes 20 minutes
*49° *120° 8 minutes 10 minutes
51° 124° 2 minutes 4.2 minutes
55° 131° 17 seconds 30 seconds
60° 140° 3 seconds 5 seconds
*Activation temperature = 120° max
(response time is less than 5 seconds)
The above table shows that a person will receive a second degree burn in 3 seconds of exposure and a third degree burn in 5 seconds of exposure to water of 140°F. A maximum temperature of 120°F at the discharge outlet will ensure the most safety for users.

The American Journal of Public Health prefers a maximum temperature of 120°F for hot water.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the plumbing industry have published a voluntary standard which states that the maximum allowable temperature at the water outlet to the bathing area should be 120°F.

There are national standards set forth by the major plumbing code making bodies, which specify a maximum temperature of 120°F for delivered hot water.  The major code making bodies include:

  • Southern Building Code Congress International (South)
  • National Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors (NJ, DE, MO, NE)
  • Council of American Building Officials (Regulate 1 & 2 family homes in U.S.)
  • International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (West)
  • Building Officials and Code Administrators (Northwest and Midwest)

Other nationally recognized plumbing code bodies that have published or proposed standards specifying 120°F as the maximum allowable discharge temperature include:

American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM F444-88) Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Scald-Prevention Devices and Systems in Bathing Areas.

American Society of Sanitary Engineers and Plumbing Manufacturers' Institute (ASSE 1016) - Individual Thermostatic Pressure Balancing and Combination Control Valves for  Bathing Facilities.

American Society of Sanitary Engineers and the Plumbing Manufacturers' Institute (ASSE 1062) - Temperature Actuated Flow Reducers for Individual Fixture Fittings.  Passed the ASSE Standards Committee - April 26, 1996

Other organizations that specify a maximum of 120°F for delivered water temperature include:

  • Burn Prevention Foundation
  • National Safe Kids Campaign
  • American Society of Plumbing Engineers
  • American Trauma Society
  • Shriners' Burn Institute
  • National Burn Victim Foundation
  • American Correctional Association
  • U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services (guidelines for hospital & medical facility construction)

REFERENCES:
www.ameriburn.org/Preven/Scald%202000%20Web.pdf
http://www.medal.org/docs_ch38/doc_ch38.03.html

ORIGINAL SOURCE:
Moritz AR Henriques FC Jr. Studies of thermal injury II:
The relative importance of time and surface temperature in the causation of cutaneous burns. Am J Pathol. 1947; 23: 915-941.

ALSO CHECK THE FOLLOWING SOURCES:

Purdue GF Hunt JL. Chapter 10: Burn injuries. pages 105-116. IN: Ludwig S Kornberg AE (editors). Child Abuse A Medical Reference Second Edition. Churchill Livingstone. 1992.

Rivara FP Grossman DC Cummings P. Injury Prevention. N Engl J Med. 1997; 337: 613-618.

 
AntiScald Inc. is the authorized distributor of ScaldShield products.
All Warranty and Product Liability is assumed solely by the products manufacturer and not by AntiScald Inc.
Click here to see full legal details.
2003 All Rights Reserved