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New from New Mexico - Ethical Quilting: Using Flame Retardant Fabrics/Batting

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nchavez Posted: Thu, Sep 19 2013 9:10 PM

I'm just starting to quilt. I come from a fashion design background and decided to make three quilts for my nieces and an heirloom quilt for myself. Sewing is not the problem. I bought the Ladies of the Sea quilt pattern and will be making that for myself.

While purchasing supplies I realized that most quilting fabrics and batting are not flame retardant. Yet, I would believe that most of our quilts are made to be used in bed. Because I studied fashion design we were made very aware of laws where children's clothing, pajamas, bedding, etc., MUST be flame retardant. But, if you're sewing something there is no law to protect, children, the elderly, the disabled from fire protection.

Just about all quilting fabric and batting is either 100% cotton or polyester both of which become the Chicago Fire when touched by a flame. This means that if you drop one, just one lit match, the fabric will go up in flames. Some fabrics like polyester don't even need a flame, just a heat source like a hot lightbulb, a hot frying pan, etc., to ignite. I'm sure many of you have been at a buffet where a cloth napkin goes up in flames when it was tied to a metal chafing dish. It wasn't the flame from the heat source it was the heat of the metal pan that ignited the the polyester fabric napkin.

So, I'm paying the extra dollars to buy Quilter's Dream Angel Batting which is 100% flame retardant for all my quilts. I also couldn't find it at any store JoAnnns, Hobby Lobby, Hancock, etc., so I have to get it online I could not with a clear conscience use anything else for my niece's quilts, nor even my own! Just love myself too much.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Thank you for letting me share.

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Welcome nchavez - I was not aware that all blankets and sheets were fire retardant. Personally I do not feel that I am unethical by using 100% cotton. Nor do I feel I put my children in jeopardy by making their clothing from the time they were born. They survived the non fire retardant fabrics. I don't believe any quilter is unethical nor careless. I personally am very happy the government does not control what I can and cannot sew. I also have quilts my grandmother made from cotton and certainly not fire retardant, but still, I love them and would not give them up for anything in the world.  I hope your are not suggesting that we are purposely putting any one in danger.

Georgetown CA I'd Rather Be Quilting

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Annie replied on Thu, Sep 19 2013 10:45 PM

Funny you should bring this subject up. I made an American flag for my classroom about 18 years ago and have had it up in every room I've been in. But just last week the fire Marshall came in and told me that I either needed treat the quilt with fire retardant spray or remove it from my wall.  And that the spray had to be district approved. I just laughed. Flag is still up. There's a saying in education. Wait a few years and what was old will be new practices again.  I'm waiting it out. 

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gini replied on Thu, Sep 19 2013 11:55 PM

hi, welcome to the group

umm, i'm not sure rachel carson would approve of flame retardant material for her or anyone's children.    we are not allow to post multiple links on one post, but i have a few links you should check out. 

 

Are Flame Retardants Safe? Growing Evidence Says 'No' by ...

e360.yale.edu/feature/pbdes_are_flame_retardants_safe.../2446/
Sep 29, 2011 - Acting on growing evidence that these flame retardants can accumulate... have voluntarily discontinued production and use of these compounds. 

this from yale university

gini in north idaho

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gini replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 12:21 AM

doggone.   the site won't let me post more, so i'll summerize

an update on california's fire code:   it now allows  smolder tests on fabrics instead of open flame tests on foam,  which eliminates the need to put flame retardant on cotton material,   it doesn't catch fire that easily.  seems the fire retardant industry has been cooking the books, so to speak. 

the article was titled,  An End to Toxic Flame Retardants, by the way. 

 

the retardants are linked to:   trouble with conception, lo birth weight babies, lower IQ's in children,  ADHD, cancer, male infertility, autism, obesity, male birth defects, early female puberty.  the list goes on.  

the amount of fire retardant found in our blood  has been doubling every 2 to 5 years for the past several decades.  babies are exposed to these chemicals 24/7.  they are persistent, they hang around for a long time and they don't stay where they were intended.

  i looked over several studies tonight and not one of them addressed the effect on our environment through the manufacture of these products.

a dozen states have changed their laws in regards to fire retardants. 

it's recommended that we use naturally fire resistant materials like cotton, wool and jute.  

i won't be buying any flame retarded batting anytime soon.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

gini in north idaho

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gini replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 12:39 AM

one of the article i read, specifically targeted the fashion industry.  it seems the clothes from the design industry are especially drowinng in many of these chemicals. they tested 20 leading fashion brands and they all had contaminated clothes.

this from the national fire protection association, "it is the exposure to toxic gases, soot, and smoke that cause the most fire deaths and injuries".  guess where the toxic gases come from?

gini in north idaho

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Patti replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 1:17 AM

excellent article Gini.   Thanks.  

Patti

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Rhonnie replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 1:31 AM

nchavez.....

I must say interesting thought but no I don't have an ounce of guilt or such about the products I use. My great grandmas quilts are still used today and not one piece on them have any retardant on them. I slept safely for many years under them just as I hope my grandkids will sleep under mine. I know I feel that all these additives add to my medical bills each month so if I can I do things the way my great grandmother did. I use all 100% cotton. I do tons of canning and such to control what my family eats as far as additives as well. I know my x was a union boilermaker yet all they required was 100% cotton when I made welding hats....and these were exposed to flame and sparks on a regular basis. I know that some men would use spray starch to make the sparks bounce better and yes it did work.

Welcome to QCA!

I'm a material girl....Want to see my fabric collection?

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Patti replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 1:49 AM

Angels dream batting apparently does not have fire retardant chemicals in it, but neither is it 100 percent cotton.

Patti

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gini replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 2:06 AM

http://www.imqa.org/media/uploads/2011/11/17/files/BattingArticleFall2011_1.pdf

i would like to know which cotton batt had the same burn rate as the wool and angels dream.   they listed them all with different numbers and you can see some are better than others.

gini in north idaho

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Annie, did they mention anything about all the paper in your classroom. Sheesh!

aka Grandma Sunshine

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Leslie replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 5:43 AM

welcome

[Ava, Missouri

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Since my livelihood is environmental, leaching chemicals are of great concern. My specialty is hazardous waste but the same principals apply to hazardous products. Natural is always best. Our systems are bombarded with chemicals from birth and the accumulative affects of leaching into our systems will and are affecting future generations. I would be careful what the manufacturing industry promotes. Their main goal is to make a product you think you can't live without. Laws are passed by hard working people who make their living off of special interest groups (lobbyists).  Everything must be put into perspective. How many of you drink the water from your tap?  Not me. It is full of chemicals, including ones that are supposed to be good for you, like fluoride. Too much of anything has negative consequences. Children are now having permanent deformities to their teeth due to too much fluoride (water, tooth paste, plaque rinse, mouth wash, etc ). Dow chemical made a boat load of money when they switched refrigerants from CFCs (non-toxic) to R37 (toxic) claiming it didn't deplete the ozone. No, it's just toxic to humans. Now they are talking about switching to something else and Dow Chemical will make another boat load of money during the switch.  There are thousands of examples out there but you get the idea. It is a buyer beware society and you are the target. If they think they can sell it, they will!

aka Grandma Sunshine

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nchavez replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 7:44 AM

Wow! I'm so impressed with the feedback I have received by all of you. I have certainly learned a lot. Thank you for your input. I will certainly do more research on what is available. I was drawn to Quilter's Dream Angel batting because it is naturally fire retardant without all the toxins and chemicals. I grew up with quilts my great aunt made with 100% cotton batting with cotton we picked ourselves and I helped clean and wash by hand. I studied in Los Angeles and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. And yes, California is usually the lead and driving force in latest movement in policies and politics! I worked in a shelter for homeless women in Los Angeles for over 10 years and experienced five fires during that time. I have seen how quickly and innocently fires can begin and how very quickly they burn. Thanks, again!

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Patti replied on Fri, Sep 20 2013 8:43 AM

nchavez.  Many thanks for starting this very important, informative discussion.  Well, it's definitely going to be 100% wool or  dream angel batting for any quilts I make for children, disabled, or elderly.  I like that dream angel doesn't use any chemicals.  It's not 100 % cotton, I think it may have some polyester but the way the fibers are formed is apparently what makes it so very flame retardant.   I will stay away from anything else that has polyester in it. 

Gini, you have given us a very informative article on which batting is the most flame retardant.  With real tests, demonstrated by photos. 

My husband does research on crop treatments.  I also have had an orchard.  I much prefer organic over inorganic pesticides.  Yes, organic farmer's do use pesticides.  What makes something organic is that it is a naturally found substance.  What makes them generally safer is that "organic" breaks down, decomposes, much faster.   Inorganic, or synthetic compounds is the putting together molecules that do not naturally bond together to bond and are resistant to breaking down, and stay in the ground or atmosphere for long periods of time.  Organic farmer's have to put on the pesticides much more frequently, as they do not last. 

Of course, there are organic farmer's that tend to stay away from pesticides in general, and that is more often the smaller, back yard gardens.  More labor intensive.

I have to leave soon, so can't get on the band wagon too long.  My next topic will be about how to know if what we are told is based on true scientific evidence.  If you ever read or watch a documentary that is very alarmist, with anecdotal evidence, don't trust it.  Look for the scientific evidence.

Patti

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