Is Bug Spray Safe to Use on FR Clothing?

There are many questions around bug spray and FRC: Is it safe? Which ones are safe? How do I know for sure? Read on to find answers and watch our video below, featuring Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, as he provides clarity in just over a minute.

Is it safe?

There are safe options and there are unsafe options. The most important thing to keep in mind when considering how to protect yourself against arc flash or flash fire hazards AND harmful pests is: do not use insect repellent with DEET for FR clothing. Tyndale does not recommend applying insect repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) to flame resistant (FR) clothing under any circumstances. Why? Laboratory testing showed that DEET applied to an FR shirt propagated flames and contributed sustainably to body burn.

Which ones are safe?

Permethrin is a non-flammable ingredient specifically designed to bond with fabric for six weeks or longer. You will find this synthesized ingredient present in many insect repellents that do not contain DEET. When applied correctly, Permethrin based repellents are effective at killing ticks and mosquitoes that come in contact with clothing treated with the bug repellent.

The main differences between permethrin and other types of insect repellents, like DEET, is that permethrin is non-flammable and it’s applied directly onto clothing rather than your skin.

Looking for clothing pretreated with Permethrin — and guaranteed for 50+ launderings? Check out Permethrin-treated FR clothing. This pre-treated clothing contains an insect repellent specifically formulated to provide protection against biting insects without reducing the safety benefits and protection of FR clothing. Our line of garments with Perimeter Insect Guard bonds with fabric and last for 50+ launderings.

How do I know for sure?

As Scott explains, the only way to really know insect repellents or pre-treated FR garments are safe to use is to test it in the vertical flame test – ASTM D6413. At Tyndale, we have our own vertical flame lab and we are happy to test fabrics for our customers to determine what’s safe and what’s not. We will test both wet and dry as some products have flammable carriers so they’re flammable when they’re wet but safe when they’re dry.

Interested in purchasing permethrin-treated FR? Shop retail now! Already in a Tyndale managed program and want to purchase or add permethrin-treated FR to your catalog? Download our permethrin-treated FR flyer to view available permethrin-treated garments and contact your National Account Executive if you have questions. Have additional questions on safety, compliance, or other technical topics – contact Scott Margolin for a Technical Consultation.

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