Michael Klimes, pinfa Chairman (Nabaltec), opened the meeting with the challenges faced by the fire safety sector today. The green awakening which started with Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in the 1960’s fundamentally changed the perception of the chemical industry. pinfa recognises the need for responsible chemistry, addressing the effects of chemicals, in order to provide important functions to society with optimal substance environmental and health profiles.
Today, there is public debate as to whether flame retardants are useful and whether they are really needed. This was started by concerns about possible health impacts of certain classes of chemicals, but has become in the media an indiscriminate generalisation that all flame retardants are dangerous. But what would our world look like without flame retardants? How could safety of public transport or electrical goods be ensured? All those who are concerned by fire safety need to respond to this.
pinfa recognises that flame retardants are one tool amongst a range of other important actions for fire safety, e.g. public education into how to react to fire, building design, smoke alarms, use of inherently non-flammable materials. This workshop, as well as providing an update of relevant knowledge and application, should provide input to proposals as to where flame retardant use is necessary to complement these actions and where they may be not appropriate.