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What types of products use flame retardants?

While an ever-evolving list of new products—from hair dryers and small appliances to laptops and flat-screen televisions—is incorporated into our homes, offices and commercial environments, we seldom think about how the products are made. Flame retardants provide consumers with a critical layer of fire protection and are vital to reducing the risks associated with fire.

Today, flame retardants are used predominantly in four major areas:

Electronics and Electrical Devices

  • Television and other electronic device casings
  • Computers and laptops, including monitors, keyboards and portable digital devices
  • Telephones and cell phones
  • Refrigerators
  • Washers and dryers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Electronic circuit boards
  • Electrical and optical wires and cables
  • Small household appliances
  • Battery chargers
Building and Construction Materials
  • Electrical wires and cables, including those behind walls
  • Insulation materials (e.g., polystyrene and polyurethane insulation foams)
  • Paints and coatings which are applied to a variety of building materials, including steel structures, metal sheets, wood, plaster and concrete
  • Structural and decorative wood products
  • Roofing components
  • Composite panels
  • Decorative fixtures
Furnishings
  • Natural and synthetic filling materials and textile fibers
  • Foam upholstery
  • Curtains and fabric blinds
  • Carpets
Transportation (Airplanes, Trains, Automobiles)
  • Overhead compartments
  • Seat covers and fillings
  • Seats, headrests and armrests
  • Roof liners
  • Textile carpets
  • Curtains
  • Sidewall and ceiling panels
  • Internal structures, including dashboards and instrument panels
  • Insulation panels
  • Electrical and electronic cable coverings
  • Electrical and electronic equipment
  • Battery cases and trays
  • Car bumpers
  • Stereo components
  • GPS and other computer systems 

Last: The mechanism of combustion and how flame retardants work against it.

Next: Insulated Wire, What’s Protecting Your Cable?

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