Fabrics can catch on fire but some have a tendency to catch fire more quickly than others. Clothing with high concentrations of rayon can become combustible quickly. Untreated natural fibers such as cotton, silk and linen can burn more easily than wool, which is difficult to ignite and burns with a low intensity flame.
The flammability hazard of a fabric depends on the chemical nature of the fibre or fibre blend, finishing treatment, fabric structure (tightness, thickness, nap of surface) and the type of garment. Ease of ignition, ease of flame spread and tendency to shrink and melt are important factors.
In the 1940s, several children unnecessarily lost their lives in a fire because of the highly flammable clothing they were wearing. The tragic losses prompted the Federal Trade Commission to begin enforcing the U.S. Flammable Fabrics Act when it was enacted in 1953. The Flammable Fabrics Act is now overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Canada: Industry Guide to Flammability of Textile Products in Canada : Textile products manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada are subject to the CCPSA and must meet the flammability requirements set out in the Textile Flammability Regulations.
The American Chemistry Council's North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) : The American Chemistry Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) was formed in March 2011 to serve as the lead advocacy organization in North America for flame retardant producers and users.
Flammability Testing (from ASTM)
Terms & Definitions
“Inherent” FR refers to a fabric that has FR properties—the fabric’s ability to self-extinguish when the ignition source is removed—by its very nature. In other words, inherent FR refers to a fabric that is FR without any additional finishing. “Treated” FR, on the other hand, refers to a fabric that has been engineered with flame-retardant chemistry to have FR properties that were not present prior to the treatment.
Textile Flammability Relevant Companies
American Fire Coating, Inc. : American Fire specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of Fire Retardant chemicals and coatings which have been thoroughly tested by independent laboratories to meet stringent fire code requirements.
Westex Inc. is an American international company with over a half century of experience producing flame resistant fabrics. Their strong commitment to innovative research and development has lead to breakthrough products such as INDURA, which has given the end user a choice to wear a cool, comfortable cotton garment while still retaining the necessary characteristic of flame resistance that is guaranteed for the life of the garment. INDURA Ultra Soft fabrics were introduced as a major advancement in protective fabric technology. A new generation of INDURA, INDURA Ultra Soft is an abrasion and flame resistant material designed to substantially increase garment wear life while providing an exceptionally soft feel with the breathable comfort of cotton. Like their original INDURA the flame resistance that is guaranteed for the life of the garment and it offers excellent protection against electric arc, flash fire and molten ferrous metal exposures. Millions of garments from the INDURA product line are being worn throughout the world today in the electric utility, oil, gas, military, petrochemical and metals industries. INDURA is a proven product in today's marketplace.
Zoltek Corporation: Zoltek is the worlds largest producer of PYRON (TM) brand Oxidized PAN fibers used in aircraft brakes and fire proofing applications. They also manufacture commercial grade carbon fibers in various formats. Production facilities are located in the US (st. Louis & Abilene TX) and Europe (Hungary). Address: 3101 McKelvey Rd St. Louis Missouri 63044 USA Phone: 314-291-5110 Fax: 314-291-6511 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: Joe Dattilo - Sales Engineer
To learn about safety standards & regulations, please contact:
U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission; Division of Regulatory Management
5401 Westbard Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland 20816
Phone # 301 504-0400
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