Whether or not candles cause TV fires has been a cause of controversy, with a recurring argument between those who believe that a standard for ignition resistance is necessary for television manufacture, and those who believe such a standard results in excessive use of environmentally hazardous flame retardant chemicals.

Instrumental to the case in favour of the ignition standard is data presented in a series of papers derived from an obscure estimate of causes of fire in Sweden. Here, Tom Muir, an independent researcher and former employee of Environment Canada (retired), explains how flaws in these derivations ultimately result in failure to demonstrate a need for an ignition standard.