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Flame retardants are employed in a variety of consumer products, including industrial fabrics. Recent media coverage, coupled with the shifting regulatory landscape, is motivating interest in the scientific, technological and policy developments surrounding flame retardants.

In this FR Webinar Series, we will cover the following topics:

  • 1. Flames and fire
  • 2. Fire testing of consumer products
  • 3. Flame retardants
    • Chemical structures
    • Commercial products
    • Novel products
    • Mechanisms of function
    • Degradation pathways
    • Methods of application
    • Testing
  • 4. Exposure
  • 5. Toxicology
  • 6. Regulatory requirements
    • US
    • EU
    • California prop 65
  • 7. Outlook

Environmental and Regulatory Considerations of Flame Retardants

Tuesday, June 21 | 2pm – 3pm ET

This webinar will provide an overview of the environmental issues with flame retardants and will discuss existing and upcoming State and Federal environmental regulations.

Kristin Robrock – Exponent

Dr. Kristin Robrock specializes in biodegradation and the fate and transport of chemicals in the environment, as an environmental engineer. Her focus is on emerging chemicals, like the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and triclosan. Her experience covers working with chlorinated solvents, specifically PCE and TCE, perchlorate, metals, PCBs, and petroleum hydrocarbons in soil and groundwater. Dr. Robrock works heavily on environmental forensics cases and is a licensed civil engineer.

Mark Duvall, Principal – Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.

Mark Duvall has worked with chemical companies for decades. Currently, he heads Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.’s Toxic and Harmful Substances/Toxic Substances Control Act practice, FDA practice and Occupational Safety and Health practice. Mr. Duvall’s experience includes Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, food and additives, dietary supplements, drug, medical devices and cosmetics. He has sat as chair of an institutional review board for human testing requirements and now sits as Vice Chair and former Chair of the Committee on Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know of the American Bar Association’s Section or Environment, Energy, and Resources.

Haskell Beckham, Ph.D. – Expoenent

Haskell Beckham’s expertise in polymers and textiles, organic and physical chemistry, fiber science, coloration, plastic degradation and stabilization, and material characterization has helped in material design and development, material selection and formulation, and failure analysis. Beckham has developed testing procedure for wicking in fabrics for performance wear, protocol for evaluating filler dispersion in composites and failure analysis of complex formulations. Before Exponent, he was tenured at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he taught polymer, textiles, chemistry, and material courses and led a research training program. Currently, he works in research of polymers and textiles in consumer products, food packaging, agriculture, geosynthetics, aerospace, building and construction materials, medical devices, bioplastics, and other biorenewables, industrial textiles, clothing for fire and arc flash protection, performance apparel, recreational and sports equipment for root cause and failure analysis, patent litigation support, product development and design support.

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Commercial Flame Retardants: Plastics / Rubbers / Textiles

Tuesday, April 19 | 2PM-3PM EST

Haskell Beckham, Ph. D. – Exponent

Dr. Kelvin K. Shen – FR Consulting

Dr. Shen is a technical and marketing consultant of flame retardant chemicals used in polymers. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and did his thesis work on Organometallic Chemistry and X-ray Crystallography at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  He was a Research Fellow at Yale and Caltech, and taught at Drexel University and California State University at Los Angeles.

Since 1978, Dr. Shen has been involved in fire retardant research and market development. His main interest in fire retardant research has been involving the flammability and smoke reduction of both halogen-containing and halogen-free polymers. His recent interest has been in the use of nitrogen, phosphorus, silicon, and boron compounds in halogen-free polymers.

Dr. Shen sat on the Board of Directors of the Fire Retardant Chemical Association during 1990-1993. He has published works in different polymer journals, wrote several chapters in FR books, and has been a regular presenter at global FR conferences.  He has been giving a short course at the BCC flame retardant conference and has been a consultant for Rio Tinto Minerals/U.S. Borax, NASA, and several other major plastics/elastomers companies.

To register, please download this form and submit via e-mail to oehoover@ifai.com or fax to 651-631-9334 c/o Omari Hoover.


Testing Textiles for Fire Retardancy

Tuesday, February 23 | 2PM-3PM EST

Haskell Beckham, Ph. D. – Exponent

Alex Morgan, Ph. D. – University of Dayton Research Institute
Dr. Morgan has experience in the areas of materials flammability, polymeric material flame retardancy, fire science, fire testing, and fire safety engineering with an emphasis on chemical structure property relationships and fire safe material design. He has worked with academic, government, and industrial clients.  Dr. Morgan sits on the editorial review boards for two fire safety journals (Fire and Materials, Journal of Fire Science). He also holds membership in ASTM International, Sigma Xi, and the American Chemical Society.
Andrew Blum, P.E., CFEI – Exponent
Mr. Blum practices fire protection engineering principles and applies them towards investigations involving fires, explosions, and other engineering failures or thermal events.  He has investigated residential and commercial losses, as well as manufacturing, food processing, power generation, hospitality, and apartment/condominium facilities. Blum has experience with both nationally and internationally accepted fire testing standards, including NFPA, ASTM, ISO, UL, and CFR. He also has background in flammability testing on textiles, garments, polymers, and other building/product materials.

Performance Standards for Industrial Textile

Tuesday, December 15 | 2PM-3PM EST


Dr. Marcelo M. Hirschler, Ph.D., M.R.S.C., C.Chem.

Dr. Hirschler graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, where he obtained a first degree in Physical chemistry and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry, in 1975. He has worked in three continents (South America, Europe and the USA). After a career in academic research, in Argentina and the United Kingdom, Dr. Hirschlermanaged the fire testing and research laboratory at a plastics manufacturer, BFGoodrich, between 1984 and 1991 (with large and small scale heat release test instruments, and other fire test equipment). He chaired the US Technical Fire Subcommittees of the Coordinating Committee for Fire Safety (Society of the Plastics Industry) and of the Vinyl Institute between 1986 and 1991.

He has specialized in fire issues for over 20 years (mainly fire testing, fire hazard, smoke toxicity and smoke corrosivity) and has published some 350 papers and five books: “The combustion of Organic Polymers” (Oxford University Press, with Charles F. Cullis), “Fire Hazard and Fire Risk Assessment”, ASTM STP 1150, “Carbon Monoxide and Human Lethality: Fire and Non Fire Studies”, Chapman & Hall), “Fire Calorimetry”, NTIS, (Edited by Richard Lyon and Marcelo Hirschler) & ASTM STP 1376, “Electrical Insulating Materials, International Issues”. The major applications are plastic materials, electric cables, furniture and furnishings, textiles and cigarette smoldering ignitions.

Fire Testing of Consumer Products

Tuesday, October 27 | 2PM-3PM EST

Flame retardants on the hot seat:  Controversy over health impacts and update on State and Federal Regulations.

Join us October 27 as we discuss the latest state and federal legislative activities surrounding use of flame retardants in consumer products.  In this webinar, we will present an overview of the environmental, toxicity and exposure issues and discuss some of the health concerns that have been raised about flame retardants. Updates on legislative activity, particularly for children’s products and upholstered furniture and fabrics will be discussed.  The webinar will be presented by Renee Kalmes, Senior Managing Scientist with Exponent, and Ann Grimaldi, Principal with Grimaldi Law Offices.

Ms. Kalmes is a certified industrial hygienist with 30 years of health risk assessment experience.  She specializes in conducting and directing studies to assess potential chemical exposures associated with use and handling of consumer products in residential and occupational settings, including evaluation of flame retardants.  She has assisted numerous companies in developing programs to address Proposition 65 compliance, restricted chemical listings, and green chemistry initiatives.

Ms. Grimaldi is a former partner at a large international  firm with over 20 years practicing chemical and product law.  Currently, Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California’s Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Flames and Fire

Tuesday, August 25 | 2PM-3PM EST

Join us for an overview on August 25th, in which we will introduce the main topics of flame retardancy, to be followed by deeper dives into each of the main topics at later dates by experts in the field.

Series Moderator: Dr. Haskell Beckham, Senior Managing Scientist, Exponent

Presenter: Dr. Charles Wilkie, Pfetschinger-Habermann Professor, Polymer & Organic Chemistry, Marquette University

Non-member attendance provided by Thermetrics