MUTTENZ, Switzerland — November 22, 2013 — Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, is
supporting the use of Green Chemistry to create safer, fire retarded polyurethane (PU) foams for
the upholstery sector. Research by Green Urethanes Ltd, the provider of green solutions to the
global PU industry, confirms that manufacturers can use reactive halogen-free flame retardant
Exolit® OP 560 with this technology to develop low emission flexible foams that meet
internationally accepted flammability standard such as Cal TB 117 (California Technical Bulletin
117, a flammability test for upholstered furniture using a small flame).
In the furniture and bedding industries, large quantities of non-reactive flame retardants
are traditionally used to achieve flame resistance for flexible foams. These flame retardants,
which are merely physically mixed into the foam, can migrate out of the foam matrix and are
associated with adverse environmental and health consequences.
“Clariant’s Exolit OP 560 phosphonate liquid flame retardant addresses these concerns by
eliminating unwanted emissions. The grade chemically reacts into the PU foam polymer and therefore
does not migrate and remains fixed within a foam formulation, also resulting in reduced amounts of
volatile organic compounds (VOCs)” comments Adrian Beard, Clariant’s Head of Marketing for flame
retardants. The phosphonate’s high effectiveness and high polymer compatibility allows it to be
used at low dosage in the foam matrix, which adds to its overall sustainability. By applying Green
Urethanes’ unique processing characteristics, the amount of flame retardant required for flexible
foam to pass the smolder and open flame tests in California TB 117 is reduced by 80%. Further
benefits for PU applications include excellent ageing stability, low smoke density and smoke gas
corrosivity, and good recyclability.
Green Urethane’s Technology is already available in the US market and uses Natural Oil
Polyols(NOP) to produce a range of standard foams for the North American bedding and furniture
industries. These more natural foams are easier to produce, and provide better comfort and
durability than petrochemical based foams. They have a total bio-renewable content of approximately
35% by weight.
Jeff Rowlands, Director of Green Urethanes Limited comments: “By using these advances in
Green Chemistry, the original safety objectives of Cal TB 117 are still being met; but now with the
added assurance that it comes with long-term environmental protection from undesirable emissions.
These are positive developments for the upholstery sector and also provide a route to reducing the
environmental impact of all foam types including those made for uses which do not need to meet the
Cal TB 117 test criteria.”
Posted November 26, 2013