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More Information About Fire Retardant Products

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This morning I was reading the Snews publication The Voice and it had an interesting article about fire retardant chemicals applied to fabrics for the manufacture of tents.

In the 1980s California mandated that all tents sold in the state had to be made from fire retardant materials. They were followed by NJ, MN, and LA. However, since California is the largest market for tents all of the suppliers to the retailers started selling tents that are fire retardant treated.

As I have written, I get—and have for about 4 years—been asked if my sleeping bags were made with fire retardant treated fabrics. The answer is an unequivocal NO!!

However, these questioners—and there have been many—have told me when they call retailers, specifically REI, they have been told in no uncertain terms that all of the bags they sell are made from fire retardant treated fabrics. That was a surprise to me.

What I did not know I learned today from the article was, and I quote; “a 2016 study done at Duke University found that chemicals used in backpacking tents have direct links to cancer, altered hormone function, and neurological problems. Exposure doesn’t take much, either: the scientist detected flame retardants in the air inside the tents and on the hands of volunteers who sewed them up.”

Now just imagine your exposure if you were in a sleeping bag that we now know has the fire retardant chemical added to the air inside of the tent from the tent fabric. Being in a sleeping bag that is fire retardant treated as well surrounds you with the fire retardant chemical right art your nose.

Once again I want ALL to know that I only use pure finish fabric for my sleeping bags as well as all of the clothing items to include my fire retardant Nomex garments. The Nomex is not a fire retardant treated fabric it is high melt nylon and there is no further fire retardant chemical applied to the fabric. Pure finish fabric means that nothing after the fabric is dyed is applied to it. For years I bought nylon that had a dwr finish on it. Then when I learned about pure finish fabric being available that is what I started buying and saved about $0.50 per yard. The cost savings has helped me to keep my prices lower.

What I learned from this article is the reality that the fire retardant chemicals leach in to the air and they do not stay attached to the materials they are put on. I know that all of these fire retardant chemicals, when burned, give off toxic fumes, but they obviously do that as well when not burning.

Trust me when I tell you any of the venture capital firms that own a company that sells tents or sleeping bags will not step away from the rules basically set forth by the state of California because they would not want to lose whatever business they currently have in states that want fire retardant treated tents and also sleeping bags. Of course the elephant in the room is REI and they would absolutely not want to carry two inventories: fire retardant treated as well as not fire retardant treated.

I do not see the companies involved doing the right thing because they do not have a backbone!!!

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