A detailed 36 page review in “Polymers” presents current technologies and innovation in phosphorus-based flame retardants for textiles. The paper notes that (except for a few inherently flame retardant polymers) textiles are made of natural or man-made organic polymers which are dangerous in case of fire, with upholstered furniture, bedding and nightwear being involved in most domestic fire incidents.
The paper notes that phosphorus flame retardants are being actively developed for textiles, to improve environment and health profiles. Challenges include durability (resistance to water soaking and washing), ease of application to the textile and compatibility with other processes such as dyeing, textile properties (comfort, strength, aesthetics), specific toxicological and safety profile of each phosphorus chemical. The paper summarises textile fire testing, mode of action of P-FRs on textiles, and presents 17 different phosphorus FR chemicals (including both synthetic and bio-derived molecules), applicable to a range of natural and man-made fabrics. The authors conclude that there is an increasing and wide range of phosphorus FRs for different textiles, that toxicity must be taken into account and assessed for each molecule, and that new P-FR molecules as evaluated to date show low toxicity.
“Recent Advances for Flame Retardancy of Textiles Based on Phosphorus Chemistry”, K. Salmeia, S. Gaan, G. Malucelli, Polymers 2016, 8, 319; http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym8090319