Adoption of Flame Retardants in India - Let's talk bromine
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Adoption of Flame Retardants in India

There is an increasing adoption of flame retardants in India owing to growing demand in key industries and several regulations put into place by the government.

The demand for flame retardants (FRs) in India has been on the rise in recent years, driven by several factors such as increasing awareness of fire safety, growth in the construction and electronics industries, and stricter regulatory requirements. This is no surprise, as a reduction in the flammability of materials would prevent ignition or slow down the spread of flames, FRs represent an essential part of the passive fire prevention system.  

We take a look at the main drivers behind India’s growing demand for the use of FRs to achieve higher levels of fire safety.

Demand Drivers 

One of the main drivers of the increasing demand for flame retardants in India is the growing awareness of fire safety. India has experienced several high-profile fires in recent years with several being reported in cars and autorickshaws in 2023. Multiple EV (Electric Vehicle) fires were also reported in 2023 and several well-known brands were involved. A bus fire claimed the lives of 12 people in 2022, and 6,600 EVs were recalled due to safety concerns that same year. In these recent years, there were reports of SUVs catching fire, and investigations pointed towards possible electrical issues as the cause. An investigation was initiated into the matter and manufacturers worked to address the concerns raised by affected vehicle owners.  

Fire incidents in India have also increased with the rapid growth of buildings and construction activities. In 2021, around 4,348 fire incidents were reported in residential buildings, 274 in commercial buildings and around 64 cases in factories. Numerous residential building fires in India have been attributed to electrical reasons, including faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, or the use of counterfeit electrical components. These fires often result in casualties and property damage. These incidents have raised awareness of the risks of fire and the importance of fire safety measures, including the use of flame-retardant materials. 

Other factors driving the demand for flame retardants are: 

  1. Rapidly Growing Construction Industry: India’s construction industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, driven by urbanization and infrastructure development initiatives. The use of flame retardants in construction materials such as insulation, cables, and coatings has become more important to ensure the safety of buildings.
    There is a growing trend towards the development of sustainable and eco-friendly building materials that must also be flame retardant. Manufacturers are investing in research and development to create new materials that meet these criteria. 
  2. Growth in Automotive Industry: Flame retardants are an important component of many materials used in the automotive industry, particularly in vehicles that are subject to high temperatures or fire risks, such as electrical vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). The automotive industry in India has been growing rapidly, with increasing demand for vehicles. Flame retardants are used in automotive interiors, wiring, and other components. 
  3. Regulatory Compliance: The Indian government has introduced several regulations and guidelines for fire safety in recent years, including the National Building Code and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) standards for various products. These regulations often require the use of flame retardants in certain applications, such as building materials, electrical equipment, and textiles. 
  4. Technological Advancements: Technological advancements in the development of new flame-retardant formulations have also contributed to the growth of the flame-retardant market in India. Manufacturers are developing new and innovative formulations that meet safety standards while also meeting sustainability goals.  
  5. Growth in Electronics Industry: The electronics industry in India has been growing rapidly, with increasing demand for consumer electronics, such as TVs, laptops, and tablets.

Increasing Adoption of Flame Retardants in India 

In recent years, India has witnessed a significant surge in the adoption of flame retardants across various industries. This increased adoption can be attributed to several factors, including a growing awareness of fire safety, stricter regulations, and the need to comply with international standards. 

One key driver for the increased adoption of flame retardants in India is the rising awareness of fire hazards and safety precautions. As the country continues to experience rapid urbanization and industrial growth, the risk of fire incidents has also escalated. Industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, housing and construction are particularly keen on incorporating flame retardant materials to ensure the safety of their products and installations. 

Moreover, the Indian government has implemented stringent regulations and standards to enhance fire safety measures. Organizations and manufacturers are required to comply with these regulations to ensure the safety of workers, consumers, and the environment. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has established specific standards for flame retardants, including IS 11871:2014, which outlines the requirements for flame retardant properties in polymeric materials. 

The National Building Code of India (NBC), 2016, is a comprehensive set of regulations for building construction in India. Part 4 of the NBC focuses on ‘Fire and Life Safety’ and provides guidelines for regulating construction activities throughout the country. Part 3 of the NBC provides guidelines for fire-resistant construction materials, including requirements for fire resistance ratings of structural elements, fire doors, fire-resistant glazing, and fire dampers. 

When it comes to the automotive sector in India, automobile safety standards are set by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and are enforced by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP). The regulations cover various aspects of vehicle safety, including occupant protection, crashworthiness, and emission control.  

For electronic products, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification is necessary to ensure the safety and quality of electronic equipment. This involves testing for fire hazards and electrical safety. The BIS recommends using flame retardants in electronic equipment to protect against fire hazards. As per the model building by laws, the material used for insulating the air conditioner’s duct system (inside or outside) should be flame-resistant and non-conductor of heat. 

Along with the regulations put into place, international trade and export opportunities have also played a significant role in driving the adoption of flame retardants in India. With an increasing number of Indian products being exported to countries with stringent fire safety regulations, manufacturers are compelled to incorporate flame retardant materials to meet international standards and enhance market competitiveness. 

The future for India and Fire Safety

The demand drivers and the India story highlight the rise in the need and adoption for flame retardants. As industries continue to grow, and India moves further towards the electrification of cars and products, taking measures to address potential fire safety concerns will be a necessary step to avoid property damage and loss of life.  

This trend is expected to continue as industries recognize the importance of incorporating flame retardant materials to mitigate fire hazards and ensure the safety of their products and installations, allowing not only to promote fire safety but also to position Indian industries to compete effectively in the global market by meeting stringent safety and quality standards. 



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