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Standards are not written in stone

My Take | May 11, 2015 | By:

Nobody’s going to argue the importance of having standards for fire resistant and fire retardant textiles, but the issue of standards is anything but simple. Who decides? Who does the testing? Which fabrics for which uses must meet which standards? In fact the new California State Fire Marshall standards run many hundreds of pages. No matter how conscientious the end product manufacturer may be—or the supplier, for that matter—that’s just a lot of reading.

But we have to pay attention. Our feature, “Flammability codes: the basics,” is a good entry point, at the least, on this topic, and can steer you in the right direction to find out more about what you need to know. The list of industries, markets and applications that must meet FR standards is long and deep, but even those in market areas that do not need to consider fire retardancy in their products should have a passing knowledge of basic issues.

We’re also running a feature this month by Marie O’Mahony on the status of the Greenpeace Detox Campaign launched in 2011. This has to do with “standards,” in one sense, but these are self-imposed. Those signing up for the campaign agreed to eliminate 11 hazardous chemicals from the supply chain by 2020.

A new report, however, suggests that this may be diverting focus from more pertinent—and attainable—goals. From a sustainability standpoint, the initial proposal was ambitious and laudable; to question its goals at the nearly halfway point seems a provocative idea. “Detox reality check” will certainly give you something to think about, and we invite you to weigh in on the original campaign, the recent report and our writer’s discussion on that topic.

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