pinfa has submitted information to the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) consultation on the use of ammonium salts to reduce fire risks of cellulose building materials (see pinfa Newsletter n° 46). pinfa emphasises that ammonium salts are recognized to be non-toxic and have been developed as safer alternatives to previously used chemicals. The only risk with their use is a possible release of ammonia gas in conditions of high humidity and temperature, pH.
In enclosed spaces, this gas can cause potential irritation to the respiratory tract and eyes but has no long-term or chronic toxic effects. Ammonia salts and ammonia gas are not carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic or impacting on the immune system. Ammonia gas occurs naturally e.g. from animal excretions. pinfa considers that a use restriction should target ONLY situations where a risk of ammonium emissions susceptible to cause irritation may occur, so should be limited to the 3 specific ammonium salts proposed by France*, and should not apply to forms of ammonium salts which are processed or applied such that gas emissions cannot occur (stability or encapsulation systems, polymer forms), in order to enable continuing use of ammonium salts (a recognized, non-toxic, effective fire safety solution) and to not prevent positive innovation.
* ammonium sulphate, ammonium dihydrogenorthophosphate, diammonium hydrogenorthophosphate
ECHA public consultation on “Ammonium salts in cellulose insulation materials used in buildings” (closed 18/12/2014) http://echa.europa.eu/restrictions-under-consideration/-/substance/6315/search/+/term
pinfa position: http://www.pinfa.eu/media/news/230-pinfa-position-on-ammonium-salts-in-cellulosic-insulation-materials.html