When purchasing toys, furniture, electrical appliances and other household articles, it is worth looking at the test and quality seals to ensure that the products comply with recognized safety and environmental standards.
The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) has compiled an overview
Hidden lifesavers: preventing fire brigade operations
Finding the right balance between ecological and economic interests is a general claim of today’s society. Sustainability is the overall promise. However, it is inseparably linked to the demand for safety. Chemistry plays a decisive role in ensuring that products meet the criteria of ecology, economy and safety.
Example: Flame retardants. They are often referred to as hidden life-savers. Whether a cable sheathing, carpet or upholstered furniture contains flame retardants cannot be seen at first sight. In the event of a fire, however, the additives prevent small incipient fires being triggered by a short circuit for example, from turning into a large-scale fire in no time. And that happens quite often: Every third fire in the household is caused by electrical appliances. This was found out by the Kiel Institute for Loss Prevention and Loss Research of Public Insurers in a survey of fires with initially unclear causes.
- Every 2-3 minutes there is a fire in a German apartment.
- The fire brigade is called to every 4th fire.
- Usually it burns between 6 and 7 pm.
In particular, defective equipment, overheating of cables and short circuits cause fires. “The fire protection of many products is usually taken for granted”, explains Kasturirangan Kannah, Product Advocacy Manager in the LANXESS Additives Business Unit. “High-quality electrical appliances generally also contain high-quality flame retardants, and these comply with strict guidelines.”
While some flame retardants form a protective layer when exposed to heat, others act directly on the flames and cause them to fade. “The mode of action of flame retardants is as diverse as their areas of application,” explains Kannah. “The decisive factor is that they delay the combustion process and at the same time have a low toxicity and a favorable environmental balance. Fire protection standards for buildings and in the automotive and electronics sectors are driving the further development of these sustainable flame retardants.”