Joel Tenney, ICL, underlined the enigma of growing FR demand but end-user fears of “chemicals”. Flame retardants will continue to be increasingly needed to ensure fire safety with increasing use of flammable materials in building insulation (energy efficiency), connected products (permanent power supply), automobile electronics, implementation of fire safety standards in developing countries and globalisation of safety requirements.
The case for the lifesaving value of flame retardants is understood by the vast majority of fire scientists but better proof is, however, needed for sceptical journalists and some politicians that FRs really do save lives; the strong statistical data alone is not enough and laboratory testing is perceived as not representing real fire conditions. The debate on health and environment safety of FRs is difficult, because still framed by issues with legacy FRs such as HBCD, PBDEs and TCEP. NGOs are increasingly pushing for reactive and polymeric FRs to reduce exposure risk. He presented ICL SAFR system for assessing the sustainability of different FRs in different applications – see pinfa Newsletter n° 79 and www.safrworks.com