Fire retardancy considerations for printed fabric

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Choosing the proper substrate for a printed fabric includes considerations regarding fire retardancy (FR). The California State Fire Marshal’s office is updating its textile flammability document Title 19, which includes discussion about the test method (Section 1273.3) for unsupported film, synthetic fabrics, coated fabrics and fabrics for exterior use.

“The results are going to affect not just people in California but throughout the country,” says Juli Case, the Industrial Fabrics Association International’s information and technical services manager, who serves on the CSFM Flame Retardant Advisory Committee and IFAI's Technical Advisory Committee. One thing the committee is looking at in terms of revision has to do with how often a fabric will need to be tested for certification. “It used to be that when a fabric was certified it was certified forever, as long as the company kept up its yearly certification payments,” Case says. “The new requirement [under consideration] is that the material will be retested every four years.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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