The terms Flame Resistant and Fire Retardant (both are commonly referred to as FR) get misused a lot. These two terms are very similar and can become confusing. The content below should make clear the differences of the two.
Flame and Fire can be used interchangebly. The confusion occurs when looking at Resistant vs. Retardant. These terms can be misleading and If you are required to use one, but buy the other you could get burned.
Resistant is defined as a material that is inherently resistant to catching fire (self-extinguishing) and does not melt or drip when exposed directly to extreme heat.
Retardant is defined as a material that has been chemically treated to self-extinguish. There are many textiles that can be “treated”. For example, Gaskets Inc’s KAREWEAR division uses treated cotton twill for our winter liners, aprons and jackets because it self extinguishes and does not melt or drip. The melting and dripping of a fabric is the greatest safety concern because the melted material can cause great damage to skin.
Check out www.karewear.net to see our full line of safety wear.