Health hazards caused by flame-retardant products?
In order to make products flame-retardant, it is usually not enough to apply flame-retardant substances only externally. Fabrics and papers in particular are therefore soaked with these substances during manufacture.
Depending on the type, these can be completely non-toxic, such as materials treated with urea, a substance produced by the body, which is used in our kraft paper, for example. At the same time, diammonium hydrogen phosphate is also used, which is not really toxic, but physiologically not completely harmless.
Halogen-based substances, on the other hand, should be avoided and to our knowledge none of the products we offer contain such chemicals.
A special feature are also substances that are not equipped with flame retardants, but are thoroughly flame retardant – this is successful because the flame-retardant properties are chemically incorporated into the fibre and cannot be changed by external influences, such as frequent washing.
You can find more information here.
What does “to our knowledge…” mean?
For reasons of competition, manufacturers are unfortunately quite shy of specifying exactly which chemicals are used. Of course, trade secrets do not have to be made public. However, we exclude suppliers from our pool of suppliers who do not even answer basic questions on health protection and generally strive to demand even more clarity on this important issue.
And the environment?
In this area too, we are working to provide you with even more reliable information. As far as the recyclability of flame-retardant papers, for example, is concerned, it is often not possible to make binding statements.
This is partly due to the fact that the products are produced in different countries with different regulations to which the manufacturers refer. Increased harmonisation of regulations within Europe is certainly a blessing for every user and not a “regulatory frenzy”.
In addition, not only in different countries, but even regionally in Germany different statements are made about what may be disposed of and how. In case of doubt, you should also consult someone who is familiar with the waste management system in your region.
Our current state of knowledge is that the pure B1 papers (scenery papers, tissue paper, etc.) can all be returned to the paper cycle like “normal” paper.
With our M1 certified product EventGarant M1, the manufacturer explicitly says: “Due to the flame retardant finish of the paper, it cannot be disposed of via the waste paper. The paper is not easily recyclable. Thermal recycling is only possible after consultation with the recycler and in compliance with official regulations. Small quantities can be disposed of as residual waste”.
However, the M1 label is not the only reason for this, because the manufacturer names our scenery papers, which are also certified according to this standard and optimized for printing, easy to recycle and also guarantees the use of exclusively non-toxic and halogen-free flame retardants.
Careful consideration is necessary.
Of course, the health and environmental issues mentioned must always be seen in the context of what it is all about: ensuring effective fire protection. And products certified according to the M1 standard are certainly preferable.