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Study on Overall Effectiveness of Flame Retardants.

Date:2023-1-7 8:50:39 Browse:0

There has been some confusion in the media about one particular study that evaluates the benefits of flame retardants— Fire Hazard Comparison of Fire-Retarded and Non-Fire-Retarded Products , V. Babrauskas et., al (1988). The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards completed study, which was sponsored by the Flame Retardant Chemicals Association. The study was intended to measure the overall effectiveness of flame retardants, not any one fire standard. It does this objectively.


Specifically, the study tests five product types:


Polystyrene television cabinet

Polyphenylene oxide business machine housing

Polyurethane foam-padded upholstered chair

Electrical cable with polyethylene wire insulation and rubber jacketing

Polyester/glass electric circuit board.

The study authors tested both the individual products as well as a simulated room that contained all of the products. In evaluating the simulated room, the following conclusions were stated:


“For the FR [fire retardants] tests, the average available escape time was more than 15-fold greater than for the occupants of the NFR [non-fire retarded] room. With regard to the production of combustion products:


The amount of material consumed in the fire for the FR tests was less than half the amount lost in the NFR tests.


The FR tests indicated an amount of heat released from the fire which was ? that released by the NFR tests.


The total quantities of toxic gasses produced in the room fire tests, expressed in “CO equivalents,” were 1/3 for the FR products, compared to the NFR ones.


The production of smoke was not significantly different between the room fire tests using NFR products and those with FR products.


Thus in these tests, the fire retardant additives did decrease the overall fire hazard of their host products.


The above conclusions are specifically pertinent only to the materials actually examined. Thus, while it has been demonstrated that very significantly enhanced fire performance can be obtained with fire-retarded products, such improvements are by no means to be automatically expected from all fire-retarded products. Instead, it will be necessary to test and evaluate proposed new systems individually. However, these tests do show that the proper selection of fire retardants can markedly improve the fire safety of specific products.” (Executive Summary, pg. xii)


This study stands on its own as a very strong piece of science that demonstrates that flame retardants can and do provide a measurable fire safety benefit. In 2009, the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) re-cited this study and its conclusion that the flame retardant treated products studied provide a 15-times greater escape time compared to the non-flame retardant treated products.


Novista Group supplies DBDPE, BDDP, FR245, SR130 to global market. 

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