Sometimes, even being the best is just not good enough. Although the EU has for years had in place regulations stipulating all furniture upholstery, foams and plastics must meet certain fire-retardant principles, it is only the UK and Ireland that included an open flame test within their furniture manufacturing laws. Theoretically this makes the UK and Ireland’s manufactured furniture the safest in the European Union.
Flame Or Fumes – The Result Can Be The Same
Polyurethane foam produces noxious, toxic fumes when consumed by fire and has in the past been responsible for many deaths in household fires, the result of burning cigarettes or matches dropped onto mattresses or sofas. To meet fire retardant requirements, manufacturers need to use chemical flame retardants, which themselves release fumes when exposed to an ignition source. However, is important to note that the gases released by these chemicals are the active components which supress fire. Flame retardant chemicals save lives. They extinguish ignition sources preventing the spread of fires.
In the Grenfell Tower fire, many people died because of high levels of toxic fumes, while others developed major respiratory problems. Sadly, toxic fume inhalation is a primary cause of death in household fire.
In the Grenfell fire the outside plastic cladding was shown to have produced a funnel, which drew air and flame upwards spreading the fire through the building at an astonishing rate. It is probable that the cladding did not meet statutory requirements for flame retardation, helping to spread the fire at an unprecedented rate. The fire was so intense that household goods such as sofas and beds that did meet flame retardancy requirements where overwhelmed by the intensity of the fire. They were never designed to cope with this type of fire.
Better Fire-Retardant Products
There is little doubt that, over the next couple of years, legislation regarding the level of fire retardation for foams, plastics and upholstery materials across a whole range of industries will be updated and improved. Formulated Polymer Products produce a range of the latest fire retardation solutions. Water-based, they are suitable for treating upholstery textiles, acoustic and thermal insulation foams and plastics, as well as furniture textile coatings, helping make sure all your foam, plastic and textile products meet the current UK and EU fire retardant legislation in the building industry, and UK and EU furniture and furnishing regulations.
At Formulated Polymer Products, we ensure we keep ahead of the latest legislation when it comes to manufacturing and supplying water-based fire-retardant products for our clients across the UK and Europe. If you would like more information on our fire retardant products for plastics, our impregnant FP 1398 for foam, or our Bromine-based flame retardants for upholstery textiles, please click here to get in touch today.