Written by: Patompong Leksomboon
To meet fire safety standards, flame retardants have been used as additives in industrial and consumer products in a variety applications particularly in wires & cables, building materials, and furniture. Even though regulations require the manufacturers to follow the fire safety standard, there have been many concerns on their drawbacks. Some chemical flame retardants such as halogenated organic compound increase fire toxicity. Thus, this safety of building dwellers and firefighters has been questioned.
Some hazardous chemicals harm firefighters during their duties. Jay Fleming, a firefighter in Boston, has concerns and encouraged the ban on these toxic compounds. Not only had Fleming’s father, who was also a firefighter, passed away due to lung cancer, but there are also many of his colleagues who have died of various cancers. Therefore, Fleming has been trying to push regulation reformation for the past seven years. In some states, children’s products such as pajamas and car seats are also required by laws to have the flame retardant property. However, the studies have indicated that the use of these chemicals can lead to lower IQ and poor social skills could be the effects to children.
In Jan 1, 2021 in Massachusetts, the new ban on 11 chemical flame retardants in products, brominated, chlorinated, or organophosphate-based compounds, was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. The new regulation does not apply only to manufacturers, but also retailers cannot sell or import consumer products that contain these compounds. Massachusetts’s ban of chemicals targets flame retardant used in kids’ products, bedding, and furniture. Other US States and countries may adopt similar bans.
Flame retardants listed in Massachusetts bans
On May 7, 2021, children products, mattress foam, and upholstered furniture with toxic flame retardants were banned in Maryland. Many manufacturers had already removed these unwanted chemicals. However, some smaller factories kept using the chemicals. Therefore, the governor will apply this new law to enforce the change.
The health concerns arise from the use of these hazardous flame retardant chemicals. Novel materials which prevent flame spread and suppress smoke without the toxic components are needed for the industry.
CIERRATM - FR is a Flame Retardant additive that provides a combination of smoke suppression and flame retardant within one product. This is accomplished by removing or reducing heat, fuel oxygen or smoke generation via different mechanism to attack a fire – Char formation/Condensation phase (reduces/eliminates the fuel by a char cover), release of water (reduces the temperature in the combustion zone, excludes oxygen and combines with soot particles to reduce smoke) and endothermic reaction (removes heat energy from the combustion process).
We have team who works closely with our customers to develop effective solutions to meet various requirements and allows our customers centered approach to support existing products and partnering on new applications or solving formulation challenges
Norton, M, ‘New Mass. Law Bans List of Chemical Flame Retardants in Products’ NBCboston, NBCUniversal Media, 02 Jan 2021, https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/new-mass-law-bans-list-of-chemical-flame-retardants-in-products/2270188/
Glenza, J, Aratani, L, ‘It’s killing us’: why firefighters are battling to ban flame retardants’ theguardian, Guardian News & Media Limited, 24 May 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/24/massachusetts-flame-retardants-firefighters-safety-cancer
Robrock, K, Kalmes, R, Lee, D, Worthen, A, ‘Massachusetts Latest to Ban Certain Flame Retardants in Selected Consumer Products’ Exponent, Exponent, Inc., 20 Jan 2021, https://www.exponent.com/knowledge/alerts/2021/01/massachusetts-latest-to-ban-certain-flame/?pageSize=NaN&pageNum=0&loadAllByPageSize=true
Kar, A, ‘As Maryland Bans Toxic Flame Retardants, Eyes on New York’ NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council, 8 May 2020, https://www.nrdc.org/experts/avinash-kar/maryland-bans-toxic-flame-retardants-eyes-new-york
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