Strictly speaking from a fabric perspective, as a cotton professional who has worked on flammability and flame retardants for the last fifteen years, I can tell you there is a flame retardant treatment for 100% cotton that is used for protective apparel and does last the life of the garment. It has been proved to last more than 100 industrial washes and used in the past by the military, industrial fire protection and some types of fire service (such as forest service and station wear). This treatment resides within the cotton fiber as a polymer which is why it does not break down and get washed out.
Also, I would like to point out that boron compounds are rarely used for apparel because they are considered nondurable FRs. Most durable FRs for cotton these days are based on phosphorus. Trying to FR treat a blended cotton/poly fabric is very difficult though.
Also have to agree with Neal and Monona about washing. You have to be very careful. There are treatments that are negatively affected by things like hard water and fabric softeners, so reading labels is critical.
Michele L. Wallace, NRCC-CHO
Associate Director, Product Integrity
6399 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27513
P: 919-678-2417 E: MWallace**At_Symbol_Here**cottoninc.com
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.
Is applicable to Nomex and other inherently FR fabrics. I launder my own coveralls (self-employed), I run my washer empty with only water. I then put in my coveralls and run then with Tide or other low additive detergent, no fabric softener.
It is a pain but nowhere near the pain of deep tissue burns.
Standard confidentiality terms apply
NEAL LANGERMAN, Ph.D.
ADVANCED CHEMICAL SAFETY, Inc.
PO Box 152329
SAN DIEGO CA 92195
011(619) 990-4908 (phone, 24/7)
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]
On Behalf Of Monona Rossol
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2013 1:47 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Flame Resistance & Lab Coats
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
From: Robin M. Izzo <rmizzo**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.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
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
~ Mark Twain
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 1:01 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Flame Resistance & Lab Coats
So the discussion in the UC Lab Safety world now includes flame retardant lab
coats and human/environmental potential consequences.
I would greatly appreciate being pointed toward information that would help us
more intelligently discuss these concerns:
How good are FR coats in a real flammable liquid fire? How does that compare to
non-FR lab coats?
Are the treated cloth lab coats inferior to the "Nomex" type?
Do the modern treated FR coats demonstrate any human toxicity or environmental
Literature that may help us in answering these kinds of questions is what I am
asking you to help me find.
Russell Vernon, Ph.D.
Environmental Health & Safety
University of California Riverside
900 University Ave
Riverside, CA 92521
after hours emergency contact UCPD 951.827.5222
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] on behalf of Secretary,
ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG]
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemical Safety headlines from Google (12 articles)
From: Melissa Charlton-Smith <charltonsmith**At_Symbol_Here**wvwc.edu>
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Chemical Safety headlines from Google (12 articles)
Date: January 25, 2013 1:33:49 PM EST
>Nitric acid is aqueous, so how can it be flammable (in the Tripoli
Possibly someone who KNOWS told the reporter that it's an oxidizer and at
certain concentrations can cause combustion in contact with combustible
materials.....and the reporter took the short root to "it's flammable".
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