Why are flame retardants used at all?

Flame retardants are used to prevent the development of a fire and inhibit the spread of flame once a fire has started. Flare retardants made of different compounds are added to many items in daily use, for example upholstered furniture in vehicles, home textiles and electrical appliances. In these instances, brominated and chlorinated organic compounds are the most effective, however, they are harmful to the environment. It is therefore important to be certain that the benefits of using these materials outweighs the potential harm.

Is the use of flame retardants regulated by law?

Textile floor coverings which are installed ‘wall-to-wall’ are considered to be construction products and therefore regulated across the EU by the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The corresponding requirements can be found in the harmonised standard EN 14041. If a flame retardant has to be used so that a product complies with a certain fire class, an annual inspection must be carried out by an independently certified third party. The CE Marking framework documents this information.

Use of flame retardants in textile floor coverings in the European Union

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.

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Carpets produced by ECRA member companies and are registered in the product information system PRODIS, a joint action by ECRA and GUT e.V., do not contain any brominated or chlorinated flame-retardants. The commonly used flame retardant is ATH (aluminium trihydroxide).

For more details please visit the GUT webpages gut-ev.de or gut-prodis.eu.

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