The recent tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington highlighted the need for effective flame retardant treatments for both household items and materials used in the construction of buildings.
Flame retardants slow the rate at which a fire propagates allowing more time for people to escape and for emergency services to act. Fire retardants save lives.
The number of fires have dropped significantly over the past 40 years and a major contributor to the decline in fires and fire deaths since the 1970s was the development of a comprehensive set of fire-safety measures that include flame retardants.
In 1988 the UK implemented the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire Safety) Regulations (FFR’s) following a major fire in the furnishings department of the Woolworths store in central Manchester. Tragically 10 people lost their lives in the fire. The regulations led to the use of flame retardants in the foam and on the back of the textiles used in furniture. The introduction of this legislation saved lives. On late 2009 The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published a report comparing the number of fires, injuries and deaths attributable to Furniture and Furnishings for the periods 1981-5 and 2002-7. Overall, in the period 2002-07, the analysis suggests that the FFRs account for:
54 fewer deaths per year;
780 fewer non-fatal casualties per year
1,065 fewer fires each year