Since California’s 1975 adoption of strict flammability standards for consumer products spanning children’s pajamas to mattresses, manufacturers have been incorporating flame retardants in their fabrics in order to meet national regulations.
But some groups such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have voiced concern about the use of certain flame retardant chemicals, particularly in kids’ products, and their links to health risks.
This has sparked several companies to begin phasing out chemical additives in favor of fabrics whose density and composition enables them to meet flammability standards without the help of potentially toxic solutions. And according to new data published by Dallas, Texas-based research firm MarketsandMarkets, the upswing is only starting.
By 2020, the fire-resistant fabric market will be worth more than $5.036 billion globally, increasing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4 percent over the next five years. Industrial protective clothing, which accounted for 47.8 percent of the market in 2014, is expected to fuel this demand.
Industrial regulations such as the OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) mandate and the NFPA (National Fire Protection Assocation) standard have heavily contributed to North America’s standing as the second-largest market for fire-resistant fabric (Europe is No. 1), but South America is projected to record the highest growth between now and 2020, due to the emerging economies of Brazil, Peru and Chile. Asia-Pacific, meanwhile, is expected to be the second-fastest growing market during the forecast time period because of substantial expansion in such sectors as oil and gas, chemical and infrastructure.