From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Flame Resistance & Lab Coats
Date: January 28, 2013 4:46:54 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <DC9B6B340B77DE43BFFBBFD7F28C2FD9569F7D4B**At_Symbol_Here**>

My expertise is in flame retarding theatrical curtains, cycs, costumes etc.  And there is no way I would take a treated fabric over one that is inherently fire retarded like Nomex.  All of the applied chemical retardants fail.  And they are not all boron compounds as implied in one post.  There are a flock of very different chemicals used and often they are trade secrets on top of it.
Theatrical curtains come with a certificate telling you when they must be retreated.  If they are inherently resistant, there is no time limit except the common sense one of checking to see when there there is so much dust on the fabric the dust itself becomes a fire issue.  As the rule, theatrical curtains are not regularly cleaned.  And when they are, the treated curtain's certificate is voided and it must be retreated. 
The CPSC and ASTM have fire retarded fabric standard tests that include laundering tests.  We use at these standards when costumes need to be retarded as when fire or pyro will be used on stage.   Recently, these CPSC standards were updated to include modern washing machines and detergents.  But it is clear there could be some unpleasant surprises in the speed with which the retarding chemicals are removed because the formulas of detergent products are constantly changing and new chemicals that CPSC and ASTM did not consider are being added.
I also suggest you all make sure your written procedures forbid the use of fabric softeners or dryer sheets when lab coats are laundered.  These softeners coat the fibers with chemicals that make them more combustible.  The softeners also separate and fluff the fibers which increases susceptibility to burning.   You might notice that all drier sheets now come in dispensers that only release one sheet at a time.  When they were on a roll, they became the preferred choice of arsonists who could use them like a giant long fuse.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin M. Izzo <rmizzo**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Sent: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 11:54 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Flame Resistance & Lab Coats


I will look for the literature on this, but to quickly answer about the treated 
coats vs. Nomex, the companies that sell the treated coats say that the fire 
resistance begins to fail after two years.  The Nomex is more expensive, but the 
fire resistance does not fade.

I have seen some literature on all but the human toxicity of the treated FR 


Robin M. Izzo, M.S.
Associate Director, EHS
Princeton University
609-258-6259 (office)
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
~ Mark Twain  

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.