Six models of flat-panel 32-40 inch TVs (3 samples of each one) were fire tested to assess ignition resistance, heat release, smoke and toxic gas emissions. 3 x 3 TVs were purchased in South America (SA: Brazil and Mexico) and were considered to not contain flame retardants (FRs). 3 x 3 were purchased in the USA and two of these three models were UL94-V1 fire rated.
The flame retarded TVs could not be ignited by a small flame (50W, 60 seconds) and were also self-extinguishing – except that fire developed in the manufacturer supplied stand/bracket (these were not fire rated). The study recommends that manufacturers ensure that stands/brackets respect the same fire safety standards as TV screen units. The FR TVs sold in the USA mostly showed higher brominated dioxin/furan emissions in fire, confirming that brominated flame retardants were used. The FR TVs gave the lowest carbon monoxide emissions (the key toxic gas posing immediate danger in fires), except in one test where the front of the screen was involved in the fire. Maximum smoke emissions were highly variable with no pattern differentiating FR from non-FR TVs. Smoke emissions appeared to depend more on which elements of the TV casing / screen / stand were involved in fire than on presence or not of flame retardants. The FR TVs all showed lower peak heat release.
“Combustion Characteristics of Flat Panel Televisions With and Without Fire Retardants in the Casing”, M. Blais & K. Carpenter, Fire Technology, 51, 19-40, 2015, Doi:10.1007/s10694-014-0420-7 Work funded by North American Fire Retardant Association and American Chemistry Council.