Some feel my worrying about plastic in the home is taking it too far? Disposables? Yes, they can see I might have a point. But nylon carpet, foam-filled pillows and polyester drapes…. what could possibly go wrong?
Well good taste aside…. you know how we were talking about hydrocarbons containing a lot of energy? Well all that energy means they burn hot. And that plastic is made from hydrocarbons. You got it. Plastic is a fuel too. So much so that it actually has a higher BTU than coal. Great for waste to energy incinerators not so good for house fires.
For generations, firefighters’ had, “on average, 17 minutes to get anyone inside out of the building before they succumbed to smoke inhalation.” Because of modern fast burning synthetic furnishings that time is down to 4 minutes. Natural fibres and fillings do not burn as fast.
You can find lots more scary stats here plus a spooky burning chair that shows just how quickly you can be overcome.
Please people make sure your smoke alarm is working and maybe pay a bit more for cotton curtains and a wool rug.
Found this very interesting table on fumes released by burning. Hers an example…
Upholstery • Nylon Polybrominated diphenyl ethers Hydrogen chloride Hydrochloric acid Hydrogen cyanide Dioxins Possible carcinogen; poison by ingestion. Highly corrosive irritant to eyes, skin and mucous membranes; mildly toxic by inhalation. Corrosive; mildly toxic by inhalation; when heated to decomposition emits toxic fumes of chlorides. Asphyxiant; deadly human and experimental poison by all routes. Carcinogen; a deadly experimental poison by ingestion, skin contact and intraperitoneal routes. Immobile in contaminated soil and may be retained for years. No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Burning a small sample of a synthetic fibre yarn is a handy way of identifying the material. Hold the specimen in a clean flame. While the specimen is in the flame, observe its reaction and the nature of the smoke. Remove the specimen from the flame and observe its reaction and smoke. Then extinguish the flame by blowing. After the specimen has cooled, observe the residue.
And this on toxic fibres and fabrics