Uses & Benefits
When added to different materials, flame retardants can help prevent fires from starting or limit their spread.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2012, more than 1.3 million fires were reported in the United States, causing 2,855 civilian fire deaths, 16,500 civilian injuries and $12.4 billion in property damage. The use of flame retardants is especially important today, as the large volume of electrical and electronic equipment in today’s buildings, coupled with a larger volume of combustible materials, can increase the potential for fire hazards.
Flame retardants provide consumers with a critical layer of fire protection and are vital to reducing the risks associated with fire. Today, flame retardants are used in four major areas:
Electronics and Electrical Devices
Flame retardants can enable modern electronic equipment, like television, and computers, to meet fire safety standards and are vital to the safety of hundreds of these products.
Building and Construction Materials
Flame retardants used in a variety of building and construction materials in homes, offices and public buildings, including schools and hospitals, can provide increased fire safety protection.
The addition of flame retardants to the material fillings and fibers used in furnishings helps provide individuals with an extra layer of fire protection and increases critical escape time in case of a fire.
From airplanes to cars to trains, flame retardants play a key role in protecting travelers from the devastation of fire. After the July 2013 Asiana Airline crash in San Francisco, for example, experts credited flame retardant materials with helping passengers survive the crash. As former FAA Director Steven Wallace told the New York Times, “Flame retardant materials inside the plane, including foil wrapping under the seats, most likely helped protect many passengers.”