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May 10, 2019

MGG Polymers

Arthur Schwesig, MGG Polymers, Austria, presented the company’s activity “urban mining” materials from end-of-life plastics. He presented examples of consumer products today produced using recycled plastics, recovered and re-compounded by MGG from waste plastics.

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Clariant

Adrian Beard, Clariant, explained that the company decided voluntarily to move out of halogenated flame retardants in the late 1990s, considering them to be non-sustainable. Indeed, the products in question are today banned or on REACH evaluation lists.

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Dupont

Antonio Nerone, Dupont, summarised the need for PIN fire safety solutions for electric vehicles (XEV) and the considerable new performance requirement challenges posed by this market. It is estimated that a third of the world car market will be electric or hybrid by 2030.

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Clariant

Sebastian Hörold, Clariant, discussed flame retardants for 3D-printing. The market today for 3D-printing polymers is around 1.2 billion US$, with an expected growth of +75% per year. There are three main technologies today: powder bed laser fusion (currently limited to polyamides PA12 and PA11), laser photo-polymerisation (certain photo-polymers) and filament or pellet extrusion (which functions rather like an ink-jet printer).

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Budenheim

Brigit Fassbender, Budenheim, presented developments in nitrogen and phosphorus inorganic (PIN) flame retardants for different polymers. These PIN FRs function by generating an intumescent char layer on the surface, which isolates the polymer from fire and also reduces smoke release.

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March 26, 2019

Fire safety in greener electronics

SAMPE, SPE and pinfa-na are organising a two-day workshop in San José, California, 30th April – 1st May 2019, on “Design for fire safety in greener electronics”, providing information on selection of flame retardants, test methods, environmental regulation, manufacturing and materials technologies.

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IAFSS to propose a fire safety “Mission” to EU

The International Association for Fire Safety Science has published conclusions from the European stakeholder meeting organised on 3rd December 2018, with support from pinfa. IAFSS has agreed to “craft a Mission statement for communication with the Commission and the Fire Science Community”.

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Campaign on fire safety for next European Parliament

FSEU (Fire Safe Europe), and Vladimir Maňka, MEP, with over 20 other MEPs, have launched a campaign targeting current members of the European Parliament and candidates for the May 2019 European Parliament elections to “pledge to improve fire safety”.

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EU EcoDesign criteria proposal for ‘displays’

The European Commission draft criteria for “electronic displays” under the EcoDesign Directive (2009/125/EC) excludes halogenated flame retardants from enclosures and stands (see previous information in pinfa Newsletter n°95). EU EcoDesign criteria are mandatory (whereas EcoLabel criteria are voluntary).

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ASTM draft standard on “blooming” of brominated FRs

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), which operates over 12 000 standards worldwide, has circulated for ballot a new standard method for analysis of “blooming” of brominated flame...

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California to allow non-FR polystyrene foam insulation

California Building Standards Commission voted on 19th January 2019 to authorise the use of non-flame-retardant expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) insulation in specific circumstances buildings. This concerns only use in horizontal applications in foundations underneath 3.5 inch (8 cm) concrete.

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California testing of FRs in children’s sleeping products

The California administration DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control) has published results of testing of children’s foam-padded seep products, to verify compliance with the July 2017 ban of TDCPP* and TCEP*.

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Product recalls

Several consumer products have recently been found to pose fire risks, with in each case reports of smoke, fire and property damage. 164 000 Brookstone wireless speakers, in which faulty lithium ion batteries have caused fires; 137 000 Haier refrigerators.

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Canada consults on revised tent flammability standards

The Canada Government is consulting on proposals. The consultation presentation notes that there were 30 deaths and 40 injuries from tent fires in the fifteen years 1972-1987, before flame retardancy...

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Singapore personal mobility devices (PMDs) standard

Registration of personal mobility devices (PMDs), which have an electric motor and a handlebar (e.g. electric scooters) has been made obligatory in Singapore from 2nd January 2019. Only UL 2272 Certified models will be authorised for use in public places after December 2020, with the objective of reducing risks from fire. There were some 40 fires involving PMDs in Singapore in 2017.

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Massachusetts flame retardant bill blocked

A bill (H.5024) proposing to ban ten halogenated flame retardants and antimony trioxide in a wide range of products in Massachusetts has been rejected by the State Governor for reasons of timing and wording, but with his support to move forward such a bill in the future.

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Environmental standard references GreenScreen

The US standards health and safety organisation NSF International has updated its standard NSF/ANSI 426 – 2018 “Environmental Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility Assessment of Servers”. The criteria include as obligatory “reduced” levels of bromine and chlorine in plastic parts > 25g (<1000 ppm chlorine or bromine, <5000 ppm in post-consumer recycled plastics), but printed circuit boards, cables, fans and electronic components are exempted.

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California repeals standards for public furniture

The State of California has repealed requirements for flammability resistance (TB133 open flame test) for furniture in public buildings (public spaces in hotels, prisons, hospitals, schools, auditoriums and stadiums …).

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24 000 home electrical fires in the USA

Some 24 000 electrical fires per year occur in US homes (2014-2016), causing 310 deaths, 850 injuries and nearly 900 million US$ property loss. Electrical fires result in property value losses double those of other fires on average, and remain limited to the object in which the fire starts in less than one fifth of cases.

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Over 3 500 fire deaths in the USA

The US fire administration report on fire risk (2016) indicates that 3 515 people died in fires in 2016 and 14 650 people were injured. The risk of fire death was higher for adults over 50, and highest over 85, but also important for young children (up to 4).

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Ten dead in Paris apartments fire

10 people died and 96 were injured in a fire in an apartment building, rue Erlanger, Paris, in the night of 4-5 February. The fire is thought to have been deliberately started by a 40-year old woman who had just been released from psychiatric hospital with medical clearance (her thirteenth stay in psychiatric hospital).

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No injuries in German high-speed train fire

510 passengers were evacuated safely after fire broke out in an ICE high-speed train from Cologne to Munich on 12th October 2018. A policeman in the train smelled smoke and pulled the emergency break alarm.

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Bangladesh slum fire kills nine, hundreds homeless

A fire in a shanty town in the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh, on 17th February, killed nine people and destroyed around five hundred slum homes of bamboo, tin and tarpaulin. Slum areas in developing countries are at high risk of fire, because of flammable materials, open cooking, absence of fire gaps and difficult access for fire services.

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17 die in New Delhi hotel fire

A fire at the Arpit Palace Hotel, Karol Bagh area, New Delhi, India (see hotel on TripAdvisor) killed 17 hotel guests. The fire is thought to have started with a short-circuit in an air conditioner of a room in the hotel and been exacerbated by wooden panelling in corridors.

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