Chris Thornton, pinfa, explained that the PIN flame retardant producers and users in pinfa share a vision of an “ideal” flame retardant, which ensures material fire safety, has minimal environmental impact and is safe for health, and does not contribute to or release additional smoke, toxic or corrosive gases in case of fire.
pinfa is active in projects working towards this objective, in Europe, in the USA, and through companies’ internal sustainability programmes. pinfa recognises that epidemiological evidence shows higher rates of cancer in firefighters, and that smoke is a known carcinogen. Improving procedures for firefighter use of and cleaning of PPE (personal protective equipment) is essential, but industry, science and regulators must also work to reduce the toxic emissions to which firefighters are exposed. Flame retardants contribute to reducing dangers for firefighters by avoiding fires and delaying flashover, and less material burned means less smoke and less soot. The mode of action of flame retardants is also important: gas phase FRs (halogen FRs, and in some cases P-FRs) cause incomplete combustion as discussed by other speakers above; PIN FRs however act mainly by dilution (emitting water vapour or inert gases), cooling (endothermic reactions) and by generating a char layer or intumescent protective layer on material surface. PIN FRs are key to “Low Smoke Zero Halogen” fire safety solutions, by combining mineral PIN FRs, mineral smoke suppressants and PIN char forming FRs.