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The peer-reviewed journal Fire Technology recently released a study showing that flame retardants do make a difference in preventing and slowing the spread of fire. The study also found that flame retardants do not appear to make smoke more toxic, a finding that will be of particular interest to fire fighters, many of whom have voiced concerns about smoke inhalation during home fires.
Dr. Matthew Blais, a nationally renowned fire science researcher at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, compared flexible polyurethane foams with and without flame retardants in furniture mock-ups to see if the chemicals were effective and if they in any way influenced smoke toxicity. He also looked at the impact of fire barrier materials on fire growth and smoke toxicity. The test included small and large open flame sources.
Here are some topline findings from the analysis…
These and other related findings should help address concerns from fire fighters about the impact of flame retardants on smoke toxicity. This study also shows that flame retardants can play an important role in slowing and preventing the spread of fire, and that’s a finding that should be comforting to all of us.
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