LIFE-FLAREX. Mitigation of environmental impact caused by Flame Retardant textile finishing chemicals
Flame retardant (hereinafter FR) textiles are extremely important since they offer human, property and environment protection against fire. In recent years, increasing concerns about the toxicological and environmental consequences of using such FR chemicals on textile substrates have been raised. Many of these chemicals are now recognized as global contaminants and are associated with adverse health effects in animals and humans, including endocrine and thyroid disruption, immunotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, cancer, and adverse effects on fetal and child development and neurologic function.
European and worldwide legislations have restricted the type and doses of flame retardant compounds used in textile applications. In Europe, REACH legislation restricts the use of brominated (PentaBDE, OctaBDE, TRIS, PBB) compounds and does not allow the utilization of other FR toxic compounds (i.e. tris(aziridinyl)phosphinoxide) in articles for skin contact. Additionally, other FR toxic compounds (i.e. Deca-BDE, boric acid, Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins, TCEP, HBCD) have been listed as Substances of Very High Concern.
The reaction to those concerns linked with the apparent need for enhanced flame retardant performance at an acceptable cost has caused both research scientists and industry to replace and to enhance the efficiency of the currently used FR products. Existing formulations based on phosphorous and nitrogen compounds, nanotechnology (i.e. nanoclays), formaldehyde-free products, among others, are seen as environmentally friendly alternatives. However, they might lack performance for the most demanding applications.
The main objective of this project is to contribute to the mitigation of the environmental and health impacts on European ecosystems caused by toxic compounds resulting from bromine-, formaldehyde- and antimony containing FR textile additives. This study will be developed by analyzing the best available textile finishing products and implementing those innovative technologies for FR applications.
The demonstration at technical scale will be divided into four main parts which are 1) Selection of commercial FR finishing (including coating) additives and textile materials, 2) Laboratory demonstration of the finishing applications, 3) Industrial demonstration of the finishing applications and 4) Risk assessment of the project finishing applications.
LIFE-FLAREX is co-funded by the European Union under the LIFE+ Financial Instrument within the axe Environment Policy and Governance and under the Grant Agreement nº. LIFE16 ENV/ES/000374.