Use of flame retardants
in the production of textile floor coverings
Which substances are used?
Flame retardants which are prohibited for use during the manufacture of textile floor coverings
Over time, GUT has developed a list of flame retardants which are prohibited for use during the manufacture of textile floor coverings. This is to ensure that any carpets produced conform to the desired standards on flame retardancy whilst not using any substances which are damaging to the consumer or the environment. The following list is an overview of the banned substances.
List of banned flame retardants.
Flame retardants can be made of a variety of different organic or inorganic chemicals, and their use is determined by the specific product, its material composition and intended end-use. Typical products which need a flame retardant include electrical and electronic equipment, printed circuit boards, cables, carpet backings, speciality textiles, and insulating materials and foams.
Organic flame retardants are mainly brominated compounds, halogen- containing or halogen-free organophosphorus compounds, or chlorinated paraffins. The main inorganic flame retardants used are aluminium trihydroxide (ATH), magnesium dihydroxide or antimony trioxide (which acts a synergist for brominated flame retardants).
The GUT protocol does not allow the following chemicals to be used.
Within the private sector, over 73% of carpets do not require any additional flame retardants to comply with the declared fire protection rating. If they do use a fire retardant for whatever reason, then ATH is used. In the public sector, where higher safety requirements sometimes apply, around 54% of carpets contain additional flame retardants.
|Tab. 5.11: Flame retardants|
ban on use
|Polybrominated biphenyls||PBBs a)||59536-65-1||⃠|
|Polybrominated biphenyl ethers||PBDEs b)||-.-||⃠|
|Chlorinated paraffins||CPs d)||-.-||⃠|
|Tetraboron disodium heptaoxide, hydrate||-||12267-73-1||⃠|
|Disodium tetraborate, anhydrous||-||1330-43-4||⃠|
|Orthoboric acid, sodium salt||-||13840-56-7||⃠|
|Disodium tetraborate decahydrate||-||1303-96-4||⃠|
|Disodium tetraborate Pentahydrate||-||12179-04-3||⃠|
Ban on use does not apply to listed substances only, but is always based on current state of knowledge.
-.- = more than one CAS-No. / substances group
a) PBBs = e.g. (Monobromodiphenyl (MBB), Dibromodiphenyl (diBB), Tribromodiphenyl (triBB), Tetrabromodiphenyl (tetraBB), Pentabromodiphenyl (pentaBB), Hexabromodiphenyl (hexaBB), Heptabromodiphenyl (heptaBB), Octabromodiphenyl (octaBB), Nonabromodiphenyl (nonaBB), Decabromodiphenyl (decaBB)
b) PBDEs = e.g. Monobromodiphenyl ether (MBDE), Dibromodiphenyl ether (diBDE), Tribromodiphenyl ether (triBDE), Tetrabromodiphenyl ether (tetraBDE), Pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE), Hexabromodiphenyl ether (hexaBDE), Heptabromodiphenyl ether (heptaBDE), Octabromodiphenyl ether (octaBDE), Nonabromodiphenyl ether (nonaBDE), Decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE)
c) HBCDDs = α-Hexabromocyclododecane (α-HBCDD), β-Hexabromocyclododecane (β-HBCDD), γ-Hexabromocyclo-dodecane (γ-HBCDD), Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
d) CCPs = Short chain chlorinated paraffins, C10-13 (SCCPs), Short chain chlorinated paraffins, C12-13 (SCCPs), Medium chain chlorinated paraffins, C14-17 (MCCPs)
Why are flame retardants used at all?
Is the use of flame retardants regulated by law?
Fire protection classifications for carpets and other building materials
- normal flammability
Each pictogram contains some additional letters - what do they mean?
L = loose laid
G = glued
CS = combustible substrate (i.e. wood)
NCS = non-combustible substrate (i.e. concrete, stone or metal).
What types of flame retardants are there?
In addition to the halogenated flame retardants (ie those which contain bromine and chlorine compounds), there are also those which contain phosphorous, nitrogen (based on melamine) or borates. However, by far the largest group of flame retardants are inorganic compounds which, due to their structure and composition, release water at elevated temperatures. These include ATH (aluminium trihydroxide) and MDH (magnesium dihydroxide).
Use of flame retardants in the European Union
Use of flame retardants in textile floor coverings
Nearly 80% of textile floor coverings in the private sector do not have additional flame retardants added, whilst within the commercial sector, with its higher statutory requirements, approximately 43% have no additional flame retardants. This proves that textile floor coverings can be produced safely and without the need for additional chemicals to be used in order to achieve the required National and European fire regulations, providing the correct materials are selected for the correct construction in manufacture. In those cases where the use of flame retardants is needed to guarantee additional safety requirements only those substances that are not prohibited are allowed to be used. In most case ATH (aluminium trihydroxide) is use.