BBC Newsnight 13.12.17 exposes the danger of burning fire retardant chemicals following the release of Professor Hull’s research. Click here to see the video.
Below is our summary of recently released scientific research. If you’d like to see the full report, click here.
Academic research completed by Professor Hull from the University of Central Lancashire and Manchester Fire Brigade has now been published by Chemosphere, which proves that Cottonsafe® creates the safest available sofabeds and mattresses in the UK – by far!
In 2015, Professor Hull asked us to be involved in the first ever large-scale fire tests to test the toxicity of furniture when burnt. No-one had ever researched the amount of fire toxicants (carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide) which is produced when burning the flame-retardant chemicals. It is the smoke, containing these gases, which is likely to kill you in a house fire. His team wanted to compare UK manufactured furniture, with imported furniture from China and Europe and our Cottonsafe® product.
“It has been shown that fire toxicity is the main cause of death and injury in fires, and that upholstery and bedding fires cause a disproportionate number of fatalities, yet there is no requirement to assess the toxicity of burning domestic furniture. This has led to an over-reliance on chemical additives (flame retardants) to meet the UK’s furniture flammability regulations. It is evident that once the ignition occurs, the presence of flame retardants has little effect on the fire growth rate, but does have an adverse effect on the smoke toxicity.”
The results were astonishing;
- Assessment of the effluents’ potential to incapacitate and kill is provided showing the two UK constructed flame retardant sofa-beds to be the most dangerous, followed by the sofa-bed made with European materials. The UK sofa-bed made only from natural materials (Cottonsafe®) burnt very slowly and produced very low concentrations of toxic gases.
In the graphs below our Cottonsafe® material is represented by a green line labelled “FRfreeCS”.
- The following graph shows concentrations of carbon monoxide:
Normal furniture reaches maximum carbon monoxide output in approximately 10 minutes of burn.
Cottonsafe® (in green) has a considerably lower output.
- This graph shows concentrations of hydrogen cyanide:
Normal furniture reaches maximum hydrogen cyanide output in approximately 10 minutes of burn.
Cottonsafe® (in green) stays very low until 30 minutes after burn providing a much longer escape time.
What does this mean?
- Further research shows the time to reach lethal concentration (assuming 30 minutes exposure in 500 m³):
You can see here that the Cottonsafe® fabric doesn’t reach the lethal concentration until 66 minutes after burn. Most others reach this limit in approximately 10 minutes.
“Reports in the literature show that the UK has the highest levels of flame retardants in household dust in the world (44) which are probably released from upholstered furniture and bedding during its lifetime, negating any potential fire safety benefit from the furniture flammability regulations, while causing problems of endocrine disruption (such as developmental disorders, difficulty in becoming pregnant, and obesity) from inhalation or ingestion of the contaminated dust.”
“One of us (RB) would like to thank Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for provision of a studentship. One of us (RGW) would like to thank West Midlands Fire Service for provision of a studentship. We would all like to thank Mark Dowen of Cottonsafe® Natural Mattress for provision of samples, help and advice, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for provision of test facilities at their Washington Hall training centre.”
44 – Kuang, J., Ma, Y., Harrad, S., Concentrations of “legacy” and novel brominated flame retardants in matched samples of UK kitchen and living room/bedroom dust, (2016) Chemosphere, 149, 224-230.
With Cottonsafe’s® natural engineering we can achieve maximum fire safety with the very minimum toxicity.
Cottonsafe® – Safe from Chemicals and Safe from Fire