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Informed Workers Are Safer Workers: Science Is the Key to FR Technology

Informed Workers Are Safer Workers: Science Is the Key to FR Technology

There are various ways FR fabrics can be made flame resistant. Unfortunately, marketing spin has created misperceptions among decision makers about the value of each method. Changing industry standards mean that, more and more, employers and companies are responsible for protecting their employees by providing personal protective equipment such as FR. Here's information you should know about the different types of FR and what to look for in the buying process.

How Are FR fabrics Made Flame Resistant?
A common marketing approach in FR workwear is to compare "inherently" flame resistant garments to "treated" FR fabrics or engineered blends. Biased sales literature frequently implies that one FR process is better than the other and that FR properties of "treated" or natural fabrics wash or wear out, while those of "inherent" or synthetic fabrics do not. However, if done correctly, both paths can engineer life-of-the-garment flame resistance.


The terms "inherent" and "treated" represent an over-simplified way of classifying FR products. "Inherent" refers to the input fiber or material, while the term "treated" is used to refer to an FR process. There is a great deal of science that goes into the process of properly and effectively manufacturing an FR fabric. Using only one word to identify the entire process is flawed. Choosing inherent FR products over treated FR products, saying the first is better than the latter, is to make a comparison that is not based on science. There are many different inherent and treated FR fabrics in the marketplace, and they can have vastly different performance. Using the terms "inherent" and "treated" fails to properly classify the complete product and its performance under real-world conditions.

Ultimately, the words "inherent" and "treated" are simply not sufficient to determine product performance or FR durability. Just because an FR fabric is treated or engineered does not automatically result in FR properties that wash or wear out. While this may be true with some off-brand or generic FR fabrics, it is a huge generalization to categorize all FR blends or engineered products in this manner.

3 years ago

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