Polyiso Maintains its High Level of Inherent Fire Resistance
All construction materials, including foam plastics materials such as polyiso insulation, must provide a suitable margin of fire safety. Among all foam plastics, polyiso possesses the highest level of inherent fire resistance due to its unique structure of strong isocyanurate chemical bonds. These bonds result in improved high temperature resistance (up to 390oF, more than twice the temperature resistance of other building insulation foams) which in turn leads to enhanced fire resistance. In addition, because polyiso does not melt or drip when exposed to flame but rather forms a protective surface char, its fire resistance is further enhanced, especially in terms of flame spread and flashover potential.
Polyiso passes both the ANSI UL 1256 and FM 4450 fire tests without a thermal barrier. Polyiso, a thermoset material, stays intact during fire exposure in the ASTM E84 or "Tunnel Test.” It forms a protective char layer and remains in place during the test, thereby meeting all building code requirements and contributing to a fire-safe building. For more information on Polyiso’s performance in fire tests, consult the Technical Bulletins and Products Stewardship sections where you can find the following papers:
Technical Bulletin 103:
"Fire Performance in Walls and Ceilings”
Technical Bulletin 104:
"Fire Performance in Roof Systems”
Technical Bulletin 105: "Fire Test Definitions”
Technical Bulletin 111: "Class A and Class 1 Roof Assemblies Are Not
Technical Bulletin 405: Fire Resistance Properties of Polyiso Foam
Plastic Insulation Used in Wall Assemblies - Facts and Comparisons"
ProductStewardship Paper 100: Polyiso Insulation and Flame Retardants
Flame Retardants - TCPP:
Because of the high level of fire resistance inherent in its isocyanurate structure, polyiso offers flexibility in the selection and amount of additional fire retardants needed to meet the demands of modern fire codes. As a result, the polyiso industry was able to evaluate a variety of suitable plastic flame retardants and choose a product that optimizes both fire and non-fire aspects of product performance.
After a thorough review of authoritative global research covering fire safety, health and environmental effects, TCPP was selected by the polyiso industry to provide the additional level of fire resistance required by building codes.
a Chemical of Concern.
· "No identified risks to the freshwater aquatic and sediment compartments or sewage micro-organisms from local sources associated with any life cycle stage;
· No identified risks to the soil compartment from local sources associated with any life cycle stage;
· No identified risks of biotic or abiotic effects on the atmosphere;
· No identified risks of secondary poisoning of predators (including marine predators) from local sources associated with ant life cycle stage;
· No identified risks to the marine aquatic and sediment compartments from local sources associated with any life cycle stage.” (ECHA 2008 Summary Risk Assessment, page 7.)
Consumer Health Risks.
Beyond the 2008 ECHA risk assessment, we believe a recent meta-study conducted by Battelle Memorial Institute3 provides additional support to the inherent safety of TCPP. After reviewing thirty of the most relevant laboratory and field studies involving TCPP gathered by Battelle, we arrived at conclusions similar to the ECHA risk assessment. In regard to exposure levels and margins of safety, Battelle stated in general, "estimated indoor exposures to TCPP … are lower than applicable reference doses (RfDs), threshold daily intake (TDI), or to other applicable health-risk based values.” And in regard to the potential for latent TCPP or other flame retardants within buildings, the documents that were part of the review revealed that any indoor concentration of TCPP or any other organo-phosphate flame retardant is "not present as a result of building material emissions (e.g., wall insulation) but rather due to releases from furnishings and consumer products.”
Need for Further Testing / Risk Reduction at Present.
1. Including HBCD, TCEP and TDCPP which are currently used as flame retardants in a variety of foam plastic applications.
2. Tris (2-Chloro-1-Methlyethyl) Phosphate (TCPP) Full and Summary Risk Assessment Reports. European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), 2008.
3. Potential Exposure to Flame Retardants such as TCPP Emitted from Polyurethane and Polyisocyanurate Foam Insulation: Literature Evaluation Results. Battelle Memorial Institute, 2013.
Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle) does not endorse or recommend particular companies, products, services, technologies, nor does it endorse or recommend financial investments and/or the purchase or sale of securities.
BATTELLE MAKES NO WARRANTY OR GUARANTEE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR MERCHANT ABILITY, FOR ANY REPORT, SERVICE, DATA OR OTHER INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN.
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