Background of Fire
Fire retardant coatings are formulated to delay ignition and reduce
spread of flame along a surface. The first patent was issued to Albi in
1948, making fire retardant coatings a relatively new industry.
Combustible interior finishes have historically been a major factor in
the high death tolls due to fire - due to role of finishes and furnishings
in flame spread and flash over. For example, in 1988 NFPA reported 67% of
all fires are started on decorative materials -upholstery, drapes,
carpeting, wall coverings and mattresses and on exposed timbers in attics,
basements and garages.
The ability of the coating to slow the rate of flame spread measured by
ASTM 84, called the Steiner Tunnel Test (also known as NFPA 255 and
UL723). Fire resistant coatings are also evaluated by ASTM El 19 to
determine period of resistance to a standard exposure before the first
critical point in behavior is observed.
Growth Potential of Fire
Retardant Coatings Industry
The largest market place is those facilities and structures that are
already existing, which are regulated by codes and standards. Typically,
these facilities include all residential structures, such as houses,
camps, cottages and mobile homes, as well as existing commercial and
public structures such as hospitals, hotels, health care facilities,
prisons and educational facilities.
Total Market Estimates
SRI reports world flame retardant market is $1.2 billion per year. US
has 40% or $450-$550 million. 28% of the world flame retardant market is
in West Europe, 22% in Japan and 10% in the rest of the Far East Growth of
this market is forecasted by SRI at 8%/year throughout the 1990's.
Four end markets comprise the primary uses for flame retardant
chemicals: plastics, textiles, paint for wood/paper and paint/coatings.
Plastics appear to be the fastest growing and most profitable market
The estimated US consumption by end use of flame retardant chemicals
shows that plastics comprises 82% of the total end use (by pounds) and
totals 512.3 pounds of chemical. Wood/paper, paint/coatings and textiles
together form the remaining 21% of the consumption. This dominance by
plastics is reflected in total market size with 80% of the market size
being dedicated to plastics with a total of $454.4 million in 1995 and
$528 million in 1998. Again, wood/paper, paint/coatings and textiles
together form the remaining 20% of the total US market, which is estimated
at $567 million in 1995.
Within the large market of plastics as an end-use, phosphorus-based
chemicals are used in fire protection in acrylics, nylons, polyesters,
polyurethane, styrene and FVC. Phosphorus-based flame retardant chemicals
are not used in epoxies, phenolics, polycarbonates, polyethylenes and
Estimated Use of
Phosphorus-based Flame Retardant Chemicals
- Acrylics 20% phosphorus-based
- Polyurethane 25%
- Nylons 15%
- FVC 50%
- Polyesters 20%
- Styrene 10%
Published reports of phosphorus-based flame retardant consumption are
not available. However, BCC estimates 60 million pounds of US phosphorus
will be used in production of phosphorus-based flame retardant chemicals
in 1993. Pricing of phosphorus-based flame retardants varies widely.
Industry trends are expected to be tied to the less expensive grades. BCC
estimates the average price per pound of all phosphorus-based flame
retardants is $1.20/pound or a 1993 market size of $72 Million.
Within phosphorus-based flame retardant chemicals, plastics comprises
66% of the end use at 44 million pounds/year' in 1995. Wood/paper
comprises 20% of the end uses and totals 13.1 million pounds/year in 1995.
Paint/coatings and textiles comprises 10% and 5%, respectively, totaling
6.6 million pounds/year and 3.0 million pounds/year in 1995, respectively
BCC believes "phosphorus-based flame retardants are believed to be
ready to penetrate a broader market range than has traditionally been the
case". This position is largely, in part, because of the reduced
environmental impact from its manufacture, processing and use. Because
smoke from phosphorus-based flame retardant is less dense than those,
which use halon, phosphorus-based flame retardants are preferred.
Increasing interest in reducing smoke obscuration and corrosivity is
helping to drive this market and create opportunities for phosphorus
additives in addition, phosphorus-based flame retardants do not require
XXXX oxide, which is difficult to handle and has caused health and safety
The BCC report on flame retardant chemicals projects a 7% increase in
growth from 1993 to 1998 for the use of phosphorus-based chemicals in
plastics and a 5% growth in all other end uses, averaging a 6% growth for
the phosphorus-based flame retardant industry.
The previously reported consumption translates into a 1995 market size
of $53.3 million in plastics, $18.1 million in wood/paper, $7.9 million in
paint/coatings and $4.0 million in textiles. The 7% and 5% growth in
plastics and other end uses, respectively, result in a 1998 market of
$64.4 million in plastics as an end use, $18.1 million in wood/paper, $9.0
million in paint/coatings and $4.5 million in textiles as end uses.
BCC estimates that new non-halogenated phosphorus-based flame
retardants will drive a healthy 6% annual increase in consumption through
1998, resulting in consumption of 80 million pounds in 1998 for a marked
to $96 million.
Of the flame retardant market, the paint and coatings portion of the
market is estimated by the National Paint and Coatings Association as a
billion gallon/year industry. According to Kenneth Zacharias, Local
Association Liaison, National Paint and Coatings Association, "the
current breakdown is 46% trade sales, 38% product finishes and 16% special
purpose coatings...and only a fraction (less than 1%) represents the fire
retardant market." These figures translate into 1.6 million
gallons/year production of fire retardant coating. BCC reported flame
retardancy has not been an urgent topic in the paint/coatings industry
recently because of severe pressure to remove volatile organic compounds
and other environmental sensitive materials from their formulations.
Kenneth Zacharias typifies the paint industry as mature, slow growth
industry, one which "maintained a steady rate of increase, slightly
above that recorded by the national economy" (from Fire Retardant
Coatings - Market and Industry Perspective, in the Handbook of Fire
Retardant Coatings and Fire Testing Services, 1990).
Toxicity Issues Relevant
One of the advantages of FR-101 is the lack of toxic chemicals in its
formulation, because the trend to increasing reporting and regulations of
chemicals is clear. The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 7, 1994) noted that the
Environmental Protection Agency proposed doubling the number of chemicals
whose release into the water or air must be reported to the agency by
manufacturers - from 320 chemicals up 313 to 633 chemicals. The data which
results from such reporting have been a significant prod to industry to
reduce emissions, serving 5 an "eye opener to lots of CEO's who are
embarrassed by the publicity the findings receive" according to Carol
Browner, EPA Administrator. In addition, the EPA planned to propose a
regulation, which expands the number of industrial sectors that must
report to the toxic release inventory to include utilities, wholesale
distributors and mining concerns.
The Fire Retardant Chemicals Association newsletter (March 1994)
reported that EPA was seeking congressional authorization to study the
elimination of chlorine's uses, to minimize its use in pulp and paper
manufacture, drinking water and groundwater treatments, plastics and
solvents. While there was a broad-based business community campaign in
opposition, environmental activists have a similar effort in support of
The New York Times (March 9, 1993) noted that "the earnings of
Smokestack America seem likely to face new setbacks because of future
liabilities for cleaning up the environment, according to a Price
Waterhouse survey". The survey of manufacturing and public utilities
found that 62% had material and undisclosed environmental liabilities.
This suggests that the environmental costs have yet to be passed through
the financial statements of numerous publicly traded companies. Senior
staff at Price Waterhouse predict "the environmental issues will not
have as broad or sweeping an impact on earnings and equity as health-care
cost standards, but it could be troublesome for companies with inherently
dirty processes and time bombs in the form of old waste disposal
Several major components of fire retardant chemicals are coming under
close scrutiny. Bromine is one of those components. The National
Toxicology Program at Research Triangle Park noted that carcinogenic
activity was clear when adults were fed polybrominated biohcavis:
Firemaster PP- 1. (Technical Report on the Perinatal Toxicology and
Carcinogenesis Studies of Polybrominated Biohcavis, Firemaster PP-i
(Aug.93). According to Karen Lindsay, in the Feb.94 issue of Modern
Plastics, efforts to restrict some brominated additives are forcing
several manufacturers to consider using "non-controversial"
flame suppressants. The point-of-view among end users is that the most
reasonable solutions are a shift to non-scrutinized non-PBOF and
bromine-free additive systems. This view of not universal, however. Ethyl,
for example, produced additives with some of the above (from Bromine
Debate Compels a Re-examination of Flame-retardant Systems).
Jan Schut reports in Plastic World, Mar 95, (How Green is your Flame
Retardant?) that the health and environmental issues related to the use of
the polybrominated flame retardants are still the main concern among
European countries and affect the marketing of some US products. There is
difficulty in finding replacements exhibiting or even exceeding the
performance of brominated flame retardants and the ways to process these
replacements. Among those considered as alternatives are phosphorus-metal
hydrate and nitrogen-based flame retardants. The potential of silicon
flame retardants is also being investigated.
Environmental, health and toxicity issues are important to the flame
retardant business and are likely to increase their influence on the
industry's direction by acting to push growth to less toxic formulations.
For example, EPA required manufacturers of eight brominated flame
retardants to develop analytical methods for determination of ultra trace
levels of polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PBDD). and polybrominated
dibenzofurans (PBDF) in commercial products and to report test results of
sampled products to EPA. This is the result of toxicology studies pointing
to adverse effects of the chemicals. As a result of the testing
requirements and controversy regarding the toxicity and of the smoke,
environmental concerns drive consumers away from brominated flame
retardants and to less controversial compounds (BCC report).
Tests similar to those required for brominated flame retardants are
required for chlorinated chemicals. Germany will limit the PBDF and PBDD
in a 3-year phase-out period. Chlorine-based flame retardants are also
limited by environmental concerns because of their halogenated hydrocarbon
status and because of concerns regarding smoke toxicity (BCC report).
Codes Relating to Fire
Regulations and standards will continue to drive the flame retardant
industry. Regulations regarding interior finishes and treatments of
furniture are particularly relevant.
Fire retardant coatings are specified in codes under Fire Performance
of Materials. Interior finishes are prescribed under this heading. By
definition all coatings may be viewed as an interior finish. BOCA defines
an interior finish as including all wainscoting and paneling or other
finish applied structurally or for acoustical treatment, insulation,
decoration or similar purpose. Each code has a table, which shows the
class of finish materials acceptable in different occupancies.
Construction types within the Life Safety Code are regulated by NFPA
220, Standard on Types of Building Construction, NFPA 703, Fire Retardant
Impregnated Wood and Fire Retardant Coatings for Building Materials
address interior materials. The California State Fire Marshal also
approved fire retardant coatings (Reg. No. C-44). Tests are often
conducted via ASTM-84. Fire retardancy of materials may be specified in a
variety of places within model building codes developed by BOCA (Building
Officials and Code Administrators) and by ICBO (International Conference
of Building Officials #2900, for example) in such places as Fire
Performance of Materials, Material Properties, Existing or Renovated
Buildings. Under most conditions, exposed materials such as wall coverings
and ceilings used in commercial buildings are required by the various
building codes to be a Class A material.
A New York State regulation requires floor and wall coatings to be
tested for toxicity of their combustion products. Requirements for smoke
are typically limited by the building codes to materials such as foam
plastic and materials used within air handling spaces.
Exterior materials are addressed by NFPA 299 Protection of Life and
Property from Wildfire and numerous state and local codes such as
California State Public Resources Code 4291.
The California Bureau of Home Furnishings (CBHM) released Technical
116, 117 Bulletins (also known as TB 116, 117) which require testing of
furniture cushioning materials against cigarette ignition. TB 121 tests
for ignition of mattresses in penal institutions, jails and prisons. This
is often used for public facilities, which include health care facilities,
old age convalescent board and care homes, college dormitories and
residence halls. TB 129, the first draft of a new flammability standard
for mattresses used in public buildings. The American Society for Testing
and Materials (A5Th4 is considering a generic version of TB 129. TB 129 is
expected to gain acceptance and approval in the next 3-5 years (Gordan
Damant and Said Nerbakhsh, Developments of Furnishing Flammability
Standards for Public Buildings and Private Residences, undated).
TB 133 outlines a series of comprehensive burn testing procedures that
include smoldering/char ignition, full--flame ignition and
"intentional" burn testing for such occupancies as hotels,
stadiums, hospitals and auditoriums. TB 133 is now mandatory in California
and several other states for specific public buildings. The National
Association of State Fire Marshals believes TB 133 is likely to be the
de-facto national standard. Because this test incorporates smoke
requirements, it is a driving force behind the move away from halogenated
The Federal Aviation Administration regulations FAR 25.853 regulates
materials used in compartment interiors of all passenger aircraft.
However, no materials currently comply with the regulations. The
international regulatory setting affects the flame retardant industry in
the US. The UK regulates furniture through 1988 legislation which requires
upholstered furniture meet both open flame and smoldering ignition
standards. This requirement also applies to used furniture. Most of the
new flame retardant product introductions that have occurred recently stem
from the UK government's 1988 decision to legislate for improved fire
performance of domestic furniture (from Flame Retardants Cooling Down as
Europe Ponders Regulatory Action by David Reed in Feb-Mar 1995 issue of
The European Upholstered Furniture Directive has been in a state of
flux. The initial draft directive was withdrawn in Feb 1993, not
reinstated as of March 1994. However, the research program done by an
11-partner consortium was completed in 1995. The German Dioxin Ordinance
prohibits halogenated flame retardants within Germany; Holland has the
same prohibition. As a result of environmental issues, environmentally
friendly resins which do not contain halogenated chemicals are increasing
in number and volume in the world plastic market (from Synergists For
Flame Retardant Phosphate Esters by Seong-Jun Kim and Young Sun Park in
Since the promulgation of the UK and European regulations, there has
been pressure for some sort of harmonization of the requirements within
the European community. Debates on the effectiveness of the UK approach
have slowed down the market process at creating a harmonized European
directive. Since the flame retardant market tends to strongly reflect
national regulatory requirements, developments in the technical area have
been accordingly slow (from Flame Retardants Cooling Down as Europe
Ponders Regulatory Action by David Reed in Feb-Mar 1995 issue of Urethane
In contrast, Arie Hochberg and Joan Glogosvsky report in "Key
Properties of FR Engineering Thermoplastics for Demanding
Applications" (ANTC95) that the last few years the flame retardant
manufacturers introduced many new and effective additives for the plastic
industry. While there are many reasons for the proliferation of the flame
retardant compounds, a major driver is the concern about toxicity of the
chemicals used in the retardant. The need to replace DBDO (low molecular
weight brominated flame retardant additive) due to the new European laws
is an example of one of these reasons.
Lastly, deterioration of structural integrity because of chemicals in
the flame retardant may cause a shift to those products which can maintain
product strength. Time magazine, April 23, 1990 noted that a
fire-resistant plywood used in nearly 1 million roofs east of Mississippi
had to be replaced because sun triggered a chemical reaction which cause
the roofs to blacken, decay and eventually collapse. Further, the
Technical Supports Services Program of Ontario Ministry of Housing
concluded through an evaluation of the long4erm effect of fire retardant
chemicals on the structural integrity of wood members? that many products
were not suitable for Ontario's climate and suggested limitations of the
use (from Study on Fire-treated Wood Assembly: Potential deterioration of
Assembly Elements by I. Ibrosvi).
Competition in Fire
According to BCC, the major producers of flame retardant chemicals are
characterized as large companies which produce many products and have many
industries. They typically have annual sales in excess of a billion
dollars. While some of these producers have decreased their investment in
flame retardant chemicals, others are increasing their commitment to the
business. Since entrance barriers are not high, some large companies are
integrating "backwards" into production of the flame retardant
chemicals themselves. New players in the market will generally seek to
occupy specific niches and specialize. Nineteen companies are listed as
Fire Retardant Coating Companies in the Handbook of Fire Retardant
Coatings and Fire Testing Services.
For every new product, the status quo seems to be the biggest
competition. Alumina trihydrate (ATH) comprises almost 1/2 the consumption
of flame retardant chemicals by pounds. The estimated US market size and
growth by phosphorus-based flame retardant chemicals is estimated at $81
million in 1995, $96 million in 1998. These figures are from a total
market size of flame retardant chemicals of $513 million in 1993, $567
million in 1995 and $658 million in 1998.
BCC estimates that seven manufacturers produce 95% of the
phosphorus-based flame retardants used in the US. Both Akzo and Albright ;
Wilson produce 30% of the US market. FMC, Himont and Hoechst Celanese each
produce 15%. Great Lakes and Monsanto each produce 5% of the US market.
Fire retardant competitors are manufacturers of phosphorus-based and
water-based fire retardants from Monsanto and Dupont, firms which are
quite large and very chemically diversified. Competition has marketed
their fire retardants through licensed lumber treatment centers
strategically located throughout North America according to demographics
There is very limited competition in the fire retardant industry within
the wood/paper market for existing structures as well as new construction.
It includes materials such as dimensional lumber, plywood, particleboard,
OOSB board and cedar shake shingles. The market has been dominated by five
main competitors: Koppers, PPG, Hoover, Osmoes and Arnox. All use the
pressure or vacuum impregnation process. These processes have been
determined to have strength loss, toxicity and corrosion problems.
A few new products have been promoted through the popular press.
Business Week (Dec.17 1990) reported that Ival O'Salyer of University
of Dayton Research Institute invented a fire fighting material which forms
a protective Thermal insulating barrier when sprayed on the roof of house.
The barrier may be washed away "harmlessly" with water. The
material contains mono ammonium phosphates, sugar, urea??? and a blowing
agent. The article notes the product was developed under contract with the
US Navy ; US Air Force. Several companies are negotiating to commercialize
the products the material can be used with.
Business Week (Nov.27 1989) notes that fire-retardant materials save
lives by giving people more time to escape. However, they acknowledge that
with most fire-retardant treatments, the more fire-resistant they are, the
more they produce deadly smoke. No Fire, a new paint produced by
Transaction Security Inc. in Upper Saddle River, NJ promises an unusually
long-lasting fire barrier via an intumescent coating. No Fire contains
ceramic fibers to prolong the coating's ability to withstand flames. The
treatment is said to shield plastics, wood up to an hour. The product is
licensed to Greyhouse Electronics, Inc. in Toms River, NJ.
The Aviation ; Week and Space Technologies (July 24, 1995) reported
that currently the only protection against compartment fires is from
hand-held extinguishers. Investigation into the use of kevlar blankets
with silicone coating is ongoing as a fire retardant.
Despite the above articles, no other company currently makes a coating
which is as easy to apply with a long shelf-life, ease of storage,
non-toxic and treats both wood and fabric. No other non-toxic
non-stiffening fabric treatments is listed in the Handbook of Fire
Retardant Coatings and Fire Testing Services. The following companies
produce products which may be considered competition:
1. American Varrag Company. Inc. (Ridgefiled, NJ) makes EXOLIT
ALBERT-DS Clear and DS1 1-Clear which are foam forming fire retardant
coatings for wood, hardboard, cellulose board and other wood derivatives
and plastics. The product can be applied by brush, roller or spray but
must be heated to 110-150 degrees F. to spray. Coverage is 100-150 sq. ft.
per gallon. Results of ASTM is Flame Spread 20, Fuel Contributed 10 and
Smoke Developed 10. No information on toxicity or flash point. The product
is effective but not durable, sugar-based and requires protective coating
for best results.
2. Barnard Products. Inc. (Covina, CA) makes 2 clear penetrating Fire
Retardant Preservatives. Bar Flame is 606G is for use on unsealed
shingles, shakes, siding, telephone poles and posts. Bar Flame 606H is to
be applied to unsealed rough sawn wood cork or interior surfaces porous
enough to penetrate. Only meets Class II fire spread rating.
3. Fiber Materials. Inc. (Biddeford, ME) makes FR203, FR304, an
off-white Water-Based fabric and carpet latex coating based on vinyl
chloride acetate latex. UL ratings, fire spread rates and toxicity
information are not available.
4. Fire Research Laboratories (Albuquerque, NM) makes several products.
FireLab Stilcoat 2000 is a semi-clear or translucent coating for roof
timbers, floors, rafters, support members, on kitchen cabinets, dividing
walls around space heaters, furnaces and heating plants, compartmented
living areas, in corridors, stairwells and building exits. It is a acrylic
modified vinyl acetate latex intumescent coating for fire retarding and
heat insulating. It is to be applied 2 coats each 4.5 to 4.8 mil
thickness, with 275-350 sq. ft. per gallon per coat. Class A rating
achieved with 150 sq. ft./gal. Flame spread 15, smoke development 10.
Firelab Fabric Treatment is aimed at the decorative trade and fabric
industry. Natural and synthetic textile materials, leaving treated fabrics
with no stiffness and no apparent residue. The coating does, however,
require 2 coats, then 1-2 weeks drying time for final finish. Synthetic
fabrics requires about twice as much as natural fibers. 1 gallon
effectively treats 300 sq. ft. of 8 oz/yd cotton fabric. The product is
applied by dipping or spraying. Spray equipment should be equipped with a
stainless steel or plastic reservoir and dipping vats should be
constructed from plastic or stainless steel. While toxicity information is
not available, above instructions imply the product reacts with metals.
While the product UL listing and Flame Spread Rating is not available it
is approved by the California Fire Marshal.
FireLab Wood Saturant is a clear, odorless, non-toxic fire retardant
resin for unsealed wood. This product can be painted, varnished and
stained just like natural wood, applied at two coats at 200 sq. ft. per
gallon over coat. Application is done via spray, roller or brush. Spray
application requires a feather-pattern nozzle with 400-1200 psi pressure
at the tip. Allow 1-3 hrs drying between coats, dry to a complete finish
in 48 hrs. FireLab Shingle Safe is a clear water-based fire retardant for
use on wood shakes and shingles. Shingle Safe is applied on one coat
because the treatment seals the shingles and prevents further absorption.
Coverage is 50 - 100 sq.: ft./gallon applied with high or low pressure
spray equipment. UL listings and Flame Spread Ratings are not available
but FireLab products are approved by the California State Fire Marshal.
5. Flame Control Coatings. Inc.(Niagara Falls, NY) makes Flame Control
No.10 as a clear fire retardant penetrating wood treatment recommended for
exterior use on previously treated cedar shakes and shingles. Properly
treated wood will char but not support combustion. Coverage is 150 sq. ft.
in 2 coats at application rate of 300 sq. ft./gallon via brush, spray or
dipping. Allow 24-48 hrs. between coats. Clean-up must be done with xydol,
toulene, Aromatic 100. Performance is Class II, with Flame Spread Rate of
35, Smoke Developed 690 and Fuel Contributed 10. (Used under NFPA 703,
Section 2-2.1.3 Class B). The product contains combustible or flammable
solvents. Keep away from heat, sparks and flame. Avoid prolonged contact
with skin. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. Flame Control No.10 also
need Flame Control 40 to achieve Class A rating.
Flame Control No.5 which is an exterior fabric flame retarder for
fabric which may be exposed to weather such as welding curtains, canopies,
dividers, awnings and tents. Coverage is 450 oz. of cotton duck per gallon
by spray, brush or dipping. Cleaning must be done with xydol or (Exxon)
Aromatic SC-100 solvent. UL listings and Flame Spread rates are not
available. (Used under NFPA 701075). The product contains combustible or
flammable solvents. Keep away from heat, sparks and flame. Avoid prolonged
contact with skin. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist.
6. Flame Stop. Inc. (Roanoke, TX) makes Flame Stopl, which is a
biodegradable, colorless retardant used on any type of wood or porous
material. Recommended for use on interior application on all absorptive
materials such as drapes, wallpaper canvas, carpets, bedding, clothing,
wood decor, furniture, cotton muslin, paper/straw, most synthetics,
redwood cedar, douglas fir. This product can be applied with a hand
sprayer or by dipping, brushing or adding to the laundry cycle. Allow 6-8
his. for drying. Performance is Class II, with Flame Spread Rate of 35,
Spoke Developed 15. Meets Interim Fed. Specs TTP 001932 GSA-F55, US
Testing Co., Inc. Class B., UL 723, NFPA 703, UBC 2, NFPA 101 and 255,
ASTM E-84 (Class B), Fabric Testing - California Title 19 and NFPA 701.
Application is 200 sq. ft./gallon. Flame Stop II is used both indoors
and outdoors, penetrates wood surfaces. It can also be applied to fabrics
used for exterior purposes such as awnings. Application is 125 sq.
ft./gal. This product is applied by spray, brush or roll application.
Allow 6-8 hrs. for drying. Performance is Flame Spread Rate of 25, Smoke
Developed 100. Meets US Testing Co., Inc. Class A, UL 723, NFPA 703, UBC
Class II rating, NFPA 10) and 255, ASTM E84 (Class B).
7. FlamOrt Chemical Company (San Francisco, CA) makes Flamort WC, which
is a latex white coating to be used on unfinished interior wood, plywood
acoustical board, insulation board, cellulose board, fiberboard,
excelsior, wood shavings and paper. It is available in ready-to-use
solutions or as dry compound to be dissolved in water. It can be used in
office buildings, hospitals, nursing homes, theaters, where fire hazards
are to be considered in specifications. For wood, coverage is 110 sq.
ft./gal., for paper - 400 sq. ft./gal., for corrugated paper board
coverage is 300 sq. ft./gal. The product flakes after applications. Flame
Spread Rates are not available but they are classified by Underwriters
Laboratories, Approved by California State Fire Marshal (Reg. No. C-44)
and 2280-002.1, International Conference of Building Officials #2900,
Government of District of Columbia, City of Los Angeles Report #23922,
City of New York Board of Standards and Appeals #684-63-SM, Building Code
Committee, Dayton, OH, City of Hartford, CN and City ; County of Denver,
CO. While chemical components are not available, probably contains
halogens because another product is claimed as halogen-free.
They also make Flamord No.6-3 Halogen-Free Coating is clear, for use on
interior unfinished wood. It does not contain Chlorine, bromine or sulfur
compounds. The wood can be stained or varnished after treatment. Coverage
and application methods and Flame Spread Rates are not listed. Flamort
No.6-3 meets City of Los Angeles Report No. 23922 and California Fire
Marshal (Reg. No. C-4-16).
8. Ocean Coatings. Inc. (Savannah, GA) makes a fabric retardant Ocean
FFR22 which has a shelf life of 12 months. fabrics are to be dipped for 15
minutes then air dried. Clean-up is with (Exxon) Aromatic 100 or Xydol.
Recoat every 2 yrs. Increasing stiffness will be noted in fabric. Dry
cleaning is not recommended. Flash point is 105 degrees F. UL listing and
Flame Spread Ratings are not available but meets ASTM-D-626-41T (treated
specimens retained fire resistance after 2-4 wks. immersion). For handling
eliminate ignition source. Avoid heat, sparks, Flames. Store in cool
place. Avoid prolonged breathing of vapors. Keep container closed.
FR-101 Fire Retardant Coating
FR-101 is an extremely useful product which has great promise to
capture a large portion of the fire retardant coatings market I would
recommend and have recommended use of the product to several clients. This
product is worthy of investment.
The consumer-cased market has not been successfully filled, perhaps
because of toxicity issues or ease of application or because of
deleterious effects of the substrate. FR-101 has overcome those
limitations so is a very desirable product to the direct consumer for
protection of children's clothing and interior coverings, Christmas trees
and areas around fireplaces and stoves. Application by homeowners of decks
and exposed wood is another market which FR-101 can dominate because of
its effectiveness, ease of application, cost and non-toxicity. Local
regulations are increasingly stringent about exterior exposed woods and
retro-fitting existing structures is likely to be required in the near
Large commercial applications may form the bulk of sales. However,
because of millions of square feet being constructed which require fire
retardant interiors. Again, the lack of toxic chemicals makes retrofitting
ideal for hospitals and nursing homes, child care facilities and other
high occupancy buildings. Ease of application drastically reduces overall
costs to the consumer of making interiors fire retardant.
retrofitting can make substantial sales to developers which wish to
construct with wood sidings. Siding is commonly required to be
non-combustible, which has limited architectural retrofitting retrofitting
can allow a greater range of designs, which is likely to foster home
3D Foam / Product
Our 3D Foam is a Class "A" & "B" fire fighting
agent formulated using a proprietary blend of non-hazardous inorganic
salts, surfactants and water. 3D Foam is unique in that it is 1) a Class A
& B fire extinguishing agent which extinguishes fire in both solid and
liquids, 2) a petroleum dispersant, 3) an acid neutralizing agent and
material spills remediation, and 4) does not contain any carcinogens or
any chemicals listed by EPA as hazardous. It is earth safe! In addition to
its capabilities as a Class A and B foam, a fire retardant is added to
3D Foam may be used to disperse hydrocarbon spills on land or water. It
may be used to neutralize common acids. In fire fighting it may be used on
all types of petroleum and will extinguish petroleum fires at .1 gal. per
sq. ft. of water and 3% agent or less. Metered agent rate to water at 3%
to 6%. Fire fighting uses of 3D Foam included A & B fires, including
tires and flammable/combustible liquid fires. It also acts as an excellent
extinguishing agent in fighting forest fires as well as structural fires.
Application rates range from 1% to 6% concentration. The concentration
of the fire extinguisher is 2%. These application rates allow use of
existing nozzles, and all Class B proportioners and all Class A
proportioners that meter up to 1% concentration.
Usable Equipment for 3D Foam:
- Vehicles: All existing fire appliances classified as structural or
- Fireboats: All models as long as agent injection or induction
equipment is available.
- Fire Nozzles: All types, air aspirated or non-air aspirated.
- Foam induction, injection equipment: All models hand-held sprayers.
All available models will perform adequately for small application.
There are no restrictions to storage or handling, the foam may even be
used after freezing then thawing, and will not develop distasteful odors
when heated. No limitation to shelf life has been determined during the
several years in which it has been produced.
Evaluation of the Market
We see the commercial market of 3D foam in three separate categories:
1. Head-to-head competition with existing Class A foams
2. Head-to-head with existing Class B foams
3. Unique niche where a combination Class A/B foam is desired.
Where no new equipment is to be purchased (proportioners) for Class A
Where applications (such as tire fires or trans-ocean shipping or
airport protection require
We will discuss each of these separately because the growth potential
for each is distinct
Background of Class A
While Class A foams have been available since the 1960's, the foam was
not accepted initially because of market barriers: uneven performance,
handling procedures and high concentrate ratios required (3-6%). Those
same categories form a basis of comparison today. New Class A foams have
consistent performance, easy handling and low required concentration
While wild land suppression agencies began to use Class A foams in the
late 1970's the use of this type of foam has spread to be widespread among
municipal fire departments as well.
Growth Potential of Class
A Foam Industry
Foam manufacturers have experienced a dramatic increase in sales of
Class A foam during the past three years. For example, Monsanto has
doubled in sales each year for the past three years. There are at least
two reasons for the increased sale of foam. First, nearly all federal and
state fire agencies not using Class A foam prior to this time are now
using it. Second, only a small fraction of municipal and rural departments
throughout the country were using Class A foam 10 years ago and now a
strong movement toward adopting Class A foam has begun.
The market for a Class A foam will continue to grow at a very fast rate
because: (1) There are hundreds of municipal fire departments without
Class A foam capability that will soon convert to Class A foam. A good
example of the switch to Class A foam is the Los Angeles County Fire
Department This department has equipped 64 engines with Class A foam and
will soon have a total of 120 within a few weeks. (2) There is a critical
need for foam fire protection in the urban wild land interface, which is
growing nationwide. The values at risk due to the wild land/urban
interface exceeds several trillion dollars. Application of Class A foam in
this circumstance is not only done by municipal and wild land fire
departments but also citizens. This market may be substantial, for 10,000
homeowner protection units are estimated to be sold in California alone in
the next two years and each will be installed with 5 gallons of foam. (3)
Strong interest in Class A foam from foreign countries, in the scale of 1
million gallons per year. Foreign markets for Class A foam is very large
and there are worldwide applications. Canada is continuing to develop
improved application methods, including optimized fixed-wind aircraft to
wild land fires and tire fires with fixed wing foam drops. Canada buys
Class A foam from American companies. Australia is now in the process of
implementing new Class A foam technology. All Australian states except one
will only use foams approved by the USDA Forest Service. Because 3M
manufactures Class A foam in Australia, its product is currently being
tested by the USDA Forest Service. 3M plans to market the foam in
Australia and Canada.
Codes Relating to Class A
International Class A foam specifications are administered by the USDA
Forest Service. The National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 298
is similar to the international Class A foam standards. The following
forms have been approved for use by the USDA Forest Service: Ansul
Silv-Ex, Fire-Trol Fire Foam 103, Phos-Check wd 881,Fire-Trol fire foam
104, Angas ForExpen S, Pyrocap B 136 and TCI Fire Quench. Chubb Terrafoam
is now in the late states of a series of filed tests. It is assumed that
approval will be provided by the 1996 fire season.
Competition in Class A
Currently, several large companies have dominated the Class A foam
market. The estimated 300-400,000 gallons of foam sold annually is
generally equally split between Monsanto, Silvex, Angus, Chetronics.
While they may have brand name preferences, generally firefighters
throughout all city, county, state and federal agencies collectively
consider all listed Class A foams to be roughly equal except for Pyrocap
B136, TCI Fire Quench and TerraFoam.
Fire personnel are discovering that Pyrocap B-130, TCI Fire Quench
require concentrate ratios of 3% or more to develop any type of foam
despite manufacturer's claim of 1% or less. Currently most aspirated
nozzle systems can develop good foam at 0.5% and Compressed Air Foam
Systems can develop a wide range of foams at only 0.2% or 0.3% ratios. The
USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are two of the
largest wild land suppression agencies that do not allow the use of Class
A foam above 1% Class A foams currently in use reach maximum performance
levels at 1% so if ratios of more than 1% are used it is considered a
waste of concentrate and money.
Tests indicate that Pryocap B-130 does not perform as an acceptable
foam or suppressor. Acceptable foam could not be produced in this test
even at ratios greater than 3%. The National Fire Administration has been
assigned to conduct an extensive comparison study of all Class A foams as
a result of the dispute which arose between the testing agency and
manufacturer regarding the product's performance.
TCI Fire Quench, made by the Texas State Prison System has been
received well by East Coast fire departments, but many firefighters and
experts consider Fire Quench similar to wet water concentrates.
Apparently, foam cannot be produced with aspirated systems, but can be
produced under limited conditions with compressed air foam systems and by
concentrate ratios well above 1%. The product is considered limited to
short term use on grassy fuels.
TerraFoam is an attempt by Chubb Chemicals to build a long-term foam.
It is a protein-based foam which Chubb claims will last up to 72 hours.
TerraFoam has been tested for at least two fire seasons, in prescribed
fires and on structure fires, where the longest foam retention recorded
was 36 hours. It has an obnoxious odor that many firefighters cannot
tolerate. At lease one report indicated that some firefighters became ill
from the fumes and odor. The foam apparently stained three houses that
were foamed to protect them from an encroaching wildfire.
Long-term foams are very desirable for the suppression and control of
wildfires and ideal for the protection of structures. It is believed that
most companies which currently manufacture Class A foams have some form of
program to develop long-term foams.
Toxicity of Class A Foams
Humans - Currently Class A foams are not considered toxic to humans.
The federal fire agency guidelines for use of foam are contained in the
publication "Chemicals Used in Wild land Fire Suppression, A Risk
Assessment", 1994. Research indicates that the currently available
chemicals pose a very low or non-existent risk to firefighters and
handlers of Class A foam. Some researchers have suggested that humans have
been. exposed to the same type of chemicals such as detergents, soaps and
shampoos for nearly 50 years and the population shows no ill effects for
Fire and Aquatics- Research does indicate that Class A foams are
harmful to fish and other aquatics and some plants. Studies of toxic
effects to the environment, humans, plants, vertebrates and invertebrates
are incomplete. Studies clearly show that fish can be killed by Class A
foams. Studies commissioned by the US Forest Service and the National
Biological Survey Office definitely indicated toxic effects on fish. Class
A foams can kill fish if the foam is put directly into bodies of water at
rates less than 1%. If foam is introduced into a stream or body of water
the foam would need to be diluted 500-fold to reach a 96 hour LC5O
Plants - A desirable effect of Class A foam is the ability to remove
the cuticle or waxy flannel covering from leaves, needles and stems of
some plants. While in some instances leaves will curl and brown up after a
few days, within a few weeks new, normal leaves appear. One report
indicated foam drops in Spain resulted in apparent stress on trees for up
to four months. Only a few specific plants appear to show visible signs of
damage or any effect. Observers have noted in some cases Class A foam
increases the growth of plants by making water more available to root
The toxicity of Class A foams has restricted their use: while foam has
been widely applied by helicopter-slung buckets, the bucket may not be
dipped into a natural body of water after it has been exposed to foam
(this requires setting up a temporary reservoir and drafting from the
natural body of water - this is relatively easy for small buckets, but a
difficult task for large, Chinook-slung buckets). Fire agencies are to
avoid introducing foams directly into bodies of water. There are no know
actions by EPA or OSHA to further restrict or control the use of Class A
The following are individual chemicals found in foams and related
suppressants that pose hazards due to their low LD's or reportable
requirements to EPA and/or OSHA.
1. Sodium Hydroxide
2. Diammonium Sulfate
3. Hydroxypropyl Guar
4. Guar Gum
5. Sodium Fluorosilicate
7. CI Basic Red
9. Methylene Bis (Thiocyanate)
Chemicals that are suspected carcinogens:
1. Sodium Ortho-phenyphenate
5. CI Basic Red
6. Alkyl Diethanolamide*
8. Hydrotreated Kerosene*
9. Mineral Oil
*Conclusive evidence or other laboratory indicators
Performance of 3D as a
Class A Foam
3D foam has not yet undergone the same tests as other Class A foams, so rigorous comparisons are not possible. Considerations in performance are:
- knock-down time
- re-kindle potential
- drain down time
- handling ease (including odor, viscosity)
- dry/wet range
Initial tests and in-house results indicate 3D has excellent handling
ease, superior storage ease, no toxicity and a wide range of dry/wet
capabilities. In addition, 3D foam has a fire retardant additive to
prevent re-kindle. The effective concentrations are higher than most other
Class A foams. However, lower unit costs partially offset the concern.
Class A Foam Market
3D foam is likely to compete well in those areas where municipal
departments do not wish to purchase different equipment to handle other
Class A foams. The consumer-based market (which is enormous) has not been
approached by any of the major foam manufacturers, so 3D foam is well
positioned to capture that market via the home fire extinguisher or via
other delivery methods.
CLASS B FOAM
Background of Class B Foams
Protein foams were developed in Europe in the early 1930's. Chubb
National Foam developed an alcohol-compatible foam in 1952. The US Navy
developed the first AFFF in the early 1960's. In 1965 Chubb National Foam
developed fluoroprotein foams. FFFP was tested in Holland as late as 1982.
Class B fires involve burning liquids, which include acetone, benzene,
ethanol, gasoline and toluene. Class B foams are surfactants (the same as
Class A foams) but designed for the suppression of liquid fires. Some
Class B foams (especially AFFF) create a protective film to exclude
oxygen. Others simply build a three-dimensional blanket to smother fires.
Some Class B foams are effective at a concentration rate of 1% (only AFF)
to 6% depending on applications, others are effective between 3% and 6%.
Growth Potential of
Industry of Class B Foams
Only ten of every 1000 fires involve liquids. However, fires which do
occur often require massive amounts of Class B. These include petroleum
fires in refineries, tire fires after they become liquid, and car, boat
and airplane fires where gasoline is involved. Much more Class B foam is
sold than Class A foam.
When a refinery fire occurs, it is not unusual to use 10,000 to 20,000
of Class B foam concentrate for each tank fire. Where fires involve more
than one tank, the amounts of Class B foam employed dramatically
increases. Because of this, refineries are expected to have as much as
50,000 gallons of Class B in storage (50,000 for alcohol-based fires and
50,000 gallons for petroleum-based fires).
Major amounts of Class B foams are used for training and testing of
facilities such as in refineries and at airports.
A steady increase in the use of Class B foams can be expected given the
continual increase in number of oil refineries and oil-based distribution,
as well as increased number of vehicles and use of airplanes. However, the
toxicity of Class B foams currently on the market limits their use and
their potential market.
Codes relating to Class B
Application rates follow NFPA Standard 11.
Competition in Class B Foams
The most common Class B foams are:
- AFFF: Aqueous Film Form Foam (also called Light Water)
- AR-AFFF: Alcohol Resistant Aqueous Film Forming Foam
- AF-FFFP: Alcohol Resistant Aqueous Film Forming Fluoroprotein
Several large Class B foam manufacturers dominate the market. Angus
Fire produces alcossel 3-6% and AR-FFFP. Chubb National Foam developed and
produces both protein foams and fluroprotein foams. 3M produces ATC Light
AFFF has the fastest knockdown abilities and Fluoroprotein foams
generally provide the best post-fire security (they prevent re-kindle).
AR-FFFP was developed in an effort to combine the advantages of the AFF's
The Aviation Week and Space Technologies (July 24, 1995) reported that
FireStopper Type B has been demonstrated by NEMA Fire Fighting Products of
Santa Ana, CA as a Class B foam replacement This product is a water
soluble product which is non-toxic and degrades into nitrogen fertilizer.
The product forms a film which has endoThermic properties and prevents
evaporation of hydrocarbons. No special equipment is required for
application and less mix is needed to knock down fires compared with
current foam Systems.
Warnings have been issued by the manufacturers of Class B foams about
the tendency for the new anti-pollution additive to gasoline MTBE. MTBE
apparently breaks down foams. Class B foams have been modified to meet
this problem. 3X3 and 3X6 foams have either 3 or 4% polar solvents added
to counter this problem.
Fluoroprotein foams have poor burn-back protection capabilities (when
compared to synthetic AFFF foams) because when part of the foam blanket is
removed, the exposed flammable liquid can be ignited.
Like protein, Class A foams, Class B protein foams also have unpleasant
odor. In addition, it has a short shelf life and older protein
concentrates are corrosive to plumbing. American Petroleum Institute
reported highly volatile fuels such as regular unleaded gasoline were
difficult fuels, and ineffective where ethanol comprised more than 10% of
Costs of other Class B foams are $18.00 to $20.00 per gallon.
Feedback from firemen indicate that Class B foams are becoming more of
a liability than a help due to the toxicity risk. The use of some Class B
foams on a fire may cause an environmental problem. Of the 165 engines in
the Los Angeles County Fire Department, only one is equipped for Class B
foam capability, however many more carry foam a five gallon container of
concentrate for use with an eductor. The equipped engine has the dual
purpose as a HAZMAT cleanup vehicle. The use of as little as five gallons
of some Class B foams may result in a hazardous spill as defined by EPA.
Nearly all fires on which Class B foams are used become hazardous chemical spill emergencies. Glycol ether, which is contained in some AFFF foams has
been recently targeted as a hazardous substance by the EPA. Any spill that
exceeds one pound of escape over a 24 hour period is reportable. A penalty
of $10,000 fine is levied for failure to report.
Most protein foams are 9-18 times less toxic than synthetic detergent
Class B foams and are 1.3 to 1.9 more biodegradable.
Toxicity to Bacteria (LC10)
AR-AFFF = .6 to 6.0 ppm
Synthetic AFFF =30 to 2000 ppm
Protein =2000-7500 ppm
FFFP =7500 ppm
Toxicity to Alga (LC10)
AR-AFFF =8 to 38 ppm
Synthetic AFFF =8 to 36 ppm
Protein = 10-509 ppm
FFFP =35 ppm
Toxicity to Waterflea (EC10)
AR-AFFF= 12 to 75 ppm
Synthetic AFFF =20 to 300 ppm
Protein =200-3700 ppm
FFFP =3700 ppm
Toxicity to Fish (LCO)
AR-AFFF=52 to 100 ppm
Synthetic AFFF =100 to 2000 ppm
Protein =500-10,000 ppm
FFFP = 10,000 ppm
Robert C. Andrews, P.E. chief of the Refinery Terminal Fire Company in
Corpus Christie, TX wrote a comprehensive study on the environmental
considerations regarding the use of Class B foams. He states in a
condensed version in the Nov-Dec. 1992 issue of Industrial Fire Safety:
"In the future virtually all fire training academies using
flammable liquid and fire fighting foam concentrates will be under
increasing pressure to improve their operations environmentally."
"The use of fire fighting foam concentrates may upset municipal
and industrial wastewater treatment facilities."
"Fire agencies may have enough foam concentrate in inventory to
require them to report the ownership of one or more toxic chemicals under
SARA Title III."
Foams applied at emergency fire incidents may be discharged at rates
comparable to small rivers. In such cases, the "slug" of foam
that initially enters the water may have a concentration in excess of
10,000 parts per million, as was the case in Switzerland in 1987 when a
foam "raft" was accidentally discharged into a river and
resulted in a fish kill.
Performance of 3D Foam as
a Class B Foam
3D Foam has not yet undergone the same tests as other Class B foams, so rigorous comparisons are not possible. Considerations in performance are:
- how well the film seals vapor (single most important factor)
- how does it handle a punch-through (does it re-seal)
- knock down time
- drain down time
- dry/wet range
- re-kindle potential
- handling ease (including odor, viscosity)
Initial tests and in-house results indicate that 3D Foam has excellent
handling ease, superior storage ease, no toxicity, and a wide range of
dry/wet capabilities. In addition, 3D Foam has a fire retardant additive
to prevent re-kindle. The effective concentrations are the same as other
Class B foams, and will compete well on a cost basis.
Class B Foam Market
A non-toxic Class B foam has great advantages, especially in off-shore
(oil platforms, trans-ocean shipping) and coastal applications. Toxicity
may be an overriding concern in future purchasing decisions for protection
of oil-based facilities near the coast, or in densely urbanized settings.
This 3D Foam may have a substantial market for merchant shipping.
Freighters and container ships would benefit greatly from a single agent
available for fire suppression. Some vessels have AFFF engine room fire
suppression systems and tankers have systems for deck fire suppression.
Limited shelf life for current agents favor 3D foam.
The long shelf life of 3D foam is a very strong advantage, perhaps as
significant as the toxicity issue, in all applications. Class B foam
customers can buy less if they buy 3D Foam because of the shelf life
issue. A combination Class A & B foam is especially advantageous for
hydrocarbon based solids, to include all plastics and rubber. This
translates into protection for tire fires, as well as plastics
Additionally, almost all of the hundreds of thousands of municipal
engines carry a 5-gallon container of Class B foam and an eductor. Where
concern regarding subsequent clean up of a toxic material is important, a
non-toxic Class B foam is preferred. This is especially true for the
hundreds of thousands of small, rural, or volunteer fire departments.