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Is Fire Retardant Treated Canvas Safe?

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Old 09-22-2016, 10:34 PM   #1
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Default Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Hi! We just built our first yurt! It's beautiful and we love it, but when we moved in there was a strong smell. We went way out of our way to use natural building materials, natural stains and floor finish etc. And my heart sank when I asked the maker about the canvas which is Sunforger marine canvas, which is CPAI-84 compliant, meaning it's treated with fire retardants. I have an 8-month-old baby and pre-schooler and now I'm worried that the yurt isn't a healthy environment for them. Any experience with fire retardant treated canvas? Does anyone know what they use to make it fire retardant (a few long hours on the internet and I can't find anything about what chemicals they use to make it fire retardant). Is there a protocol for not getting this stuff into our bodies (like don't lick the yurt!)?Any advice would be most most welcome.

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Old 09-23-2016, 12:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Hi RocktheCasbah,

It would be hard to know what the manufacturer used to make the fire-retardant material without asking them. Too many variables. Most will happily tell you if you ask. There are specification sheets on things like that.

Often it is just a borax solution, borax is cheap (doesn't really require a 20 mule team) and borax is common in many powered clothes washing detergents, though not in a sufficient concentration to make your clothes fire resistant.

Good luck in your yurt life, and I will suggest, Don't lick the yurt.

Sincerely,


Rod
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Home Page.

PS, I remember and liked your song. ;-)
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Old 09-23-2016, 06:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Are you going to be cooking or

heating

your yurt? You are going to want that material to be fire retardant. There is most likely a much greater danger of fire in a yurt if it were untreated than any danger from fire retardant chemicals applied to canvas.

Fire is something I really worry about in my yurt. I have two fire extinguishers, one on each side of the yurt and I keep a razor knife next to my bed in case I wake up and find the door blocked (only exit) so I can cut through the roof and escape. When you look at it, a yurt is rather like a giant cage. How would you get out of it should it catch on fire? For me, I would take the chance on fire retardant chemicals than not.

If you are really concerned though, then I would suggest you air it out for a few days with the windows open.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

I had to search 'sunforger msds' before I found it, but it looks like the people to contact are mf&h textiles in Butler, Georgia. If they are the only manufacturer of Sunforger, they'll be able to give you the most accurate info. You should also be able to call whoever provided you with the canvas and ask for the msds or sds info.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Ah yes the new yurt smell... As distinct as a new pair of shoes or a new car.

Don't worry the smell will fade just as quickly, though now that it's on your mind you my be ultra sensitive to it...

The newly finished woods and other items help to make the smell that much more pungent. Even a natural wood finish like raw linseed oil will have an odor that to some is very pungent and questionable (just reminds me of woodworking).

If you can leave the windows open and door open that would speed up the process... Though I know from living in B.C. this time of year that may not be an option due to all the rain...

I would not worry that the smell is toxic fumes, I agree with Jafo that you must have flame retardant materials. I am confident also that because the yurt is not sealed so tightly as a new construction home that you are better air transfer than if it were a conventional building.
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Last edited by Surely Yurts - Steve; 09-23-2016 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

We heat with a wood stove and we have many escape routes and a fire extinguisher. I hadn't thought of the knife idea! I'm all about being prepared so I'm going to use that one. Still, I would choose a little more flammability over constant exposure to a carcinogen, especially having little ones.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Thanks for the reassuring words. Either way, I'm living in a yurt, there's not turning back now! I will get to the bottom of this and share my findings. Knowledge is power
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

I hate to put a downer on your new yurt, but we manufacture

camping yurts

(CampingYurts. com) and originally started with FR Sunforger. My wife got nauseous when sewing it and then later actually threw up.

This was about 6 years ago. At the time we looked into it, it was known as toxic and we were told at the time that California was considering banning it as it was a carcinogen. These things were told to me, I do not have proof of it.
We decided to never use the FR and just use the normal non FR Sunforger canvas. Since then my wife has sewn hundreds of yurts and not had any problems.

So, I would certainly look into it more, but we will not use it even if customers want it.

Yurtman
CampingYurts
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Thanks for your honesty! I'm not surprised your wife had a reaction, touching it all the time. I believe California did ban a few substances that were toxic, but again, companies don't have to disclose what they use to get the CPAI-84 designation. I'm getting in touch with the maker to get a straight answer. Another yurt company said that it's non-toxic and had lower VOC than house paint, but again, they couldn't validate that claim.
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is fire retardant treated canvas safe?

Yurtman, one of the key reasons I built a yurt was due to your videos. Thanks for joining the forum.
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