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Natural Awakenings

Safer Sleep: People- and Planet-Friendly Fire Retardants

Oct 31, 2013 12:32PM

An ultrathin film that consists of polymers found in crustacean shells could be an environmentally friendly alternative to the flame retardants used in bedding and sofas. Mattresses and furniture cushions are typically made of highly flammable polyurethane foam; to meet fire safety guidelines, manufacturers treat the foam with fire-retardant chemicals. These are typically brominated compounds that studies by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, in The Netherlands, have shown can act as endocrine disruptors, leading to neurological problems or even cancer.

The European Union has banned several of the flame-retardant compounds and U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies have started to scrutinize their use. The nano-coating could be sprayed on foam, which would make it easy for mass production; several companies have expressed interest in the material.


Source: Chemical & Engineering News

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