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Flexible Polyurethane Foam Flammability
Flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) is an organic material and, like all organic materials, is flammable. Organic materials include a variety of common substances including wood, paper, cotton, wool, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, and polystyrene and other plastic materials. Polyurethane Foam Association members have provided their customers with educational materials about FPF flammability for more than 20 years.
It is the responsibility of the foam buyer to select the proper FPF to meet specific end-use requirements. It is the end-user's responsibility to comply with any applicable building code, occupancy requirements and flammability standards and to take reasonable precautions to protect FPF products from ignition. High risk occupancies should consider having fire detection, fire alarm and fire suppression systems; i.e.: sprinklers in full operation to provide protection.
FPF products should not be exposed to open flames or other direct or indirect ignition sources such as cigarettes and other smoking materials, matches and lighters, fireplaces, forklift pipes, sparks, bare light bulbs or exposed electrical wiring.
Once ignited, FPF can burn rapidly, consuming oxygen at a high rate and generating great heat. Like any other organic material, when it ignites and burns, FPF liberates smoke containing toxic gases, the primary one being carbon monoxide.
FPF can be modified with fire retardants to meet the requirements of various flammability standards and building codes for a number of different end-use applications. Flammability standards are based on controlled laboratory tests and do not represent actual fire conditions. However, even combustion modified FPF products will burn given a source of ignition with sufficient heat.
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