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Safer flame retardants?

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Flame retardants have a long and mixed history. While Deca Brominated flame retardants are the most widely used (about 80% of the Brominated flame retardants are the Deca type), there is some scientific evidence that the brominated flame retardants have negative health effects.Deca brominated flame retardants are used primarily in textiles and foams such as upholstery, mattresses, and electronics such as computer housings and TVs.

However, many of these markets have started demanding Bromine-Free Retardants (BFRs), and there is some progress being in the non-halogenated flame retardants in certain products.The chemical created by the reaction to combustion and the thermal degradation of plastics is affected by additives to the plastics such as plasticizers, stabilizers, colorants, fillers and even flame retardants whose purpose is to “retard” or slow the flammability of these polymer-containing products.Some states have recently banned the use of deca bromines in furniture upholstery, foam padding and mattresses. And while the EPA lists deca bromine as a “possible human carcinogen” based on some studies, there is little hard, scientific evidence.It raises the issue of what is good and what is bad in the world of chemistry. Does every solution such as retarding flammability in mattresses, couches, computer housings, etc. to prevent injury and death by fire, contain within it more problems? And does the solution do more harm than good?There currently several safer flame retardants on the market. Click here for more information.

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