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Is it "flame resistant" or "flame retardant"?

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This whole "FR" thing has really taken off in the last couple of years, especially where we are located with the recent Marcellus and Utica shale deposits. Seems like everyone is requiring protective clothing for their employees.

One thing I have noticed when a customer comes to one of our stores, places an order on our website, www.WorkGear.com, or calls is some people refer to FR as "fire retardant" clothing. Me being me, I subtly correct them by saying something along the lines of "so you're looking for flame resistant clothing?" You might be asking "what's the difference?" 

According to www.americanchemistry.com "Flame retardants are a key component in reducing the devastating impact of fires on people, property and the environment. They are added to or treat potentially flammable materials, including textiles and plastics. The term “flame retardant” refers to a function, not a family of chemicals. A variety of different chemicals, with different properties and structures, act as flame retardants and these chemicals are often combined for effectiveness."

"Flame resistant" on the other hand, is the property a garment has to protect the wearer from flash fires and arc flashes. Basically, flame retardants are used to make a garment flame resistant. I hope that clears up any confusion.

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