During the Falkland island war the British Navy experienced serious problems of combustion fume corrosivity, toxicity and visual impairment. There was an immediate need to address this problem and the result was the implementation of regulations concerning the combustion characteristics of materials used in warship construction.
As part of this exercise it was realised that the combustion of certain products is complex and gives rise to combustion fumes with the potential to exhibit heavy smoke, plus severe corrosivity, irritancy and toxicity. By excluding these products (containing Halogens) the potential scope of the combustion chemistry is reduced and the smoke toxicity characterised by a relatively limited analysis.
FROCC has adopted the UK, Ministry of Defence definition of Halogen free being a product containing less than 0.1 per cent halogen by weight.
The screening for Halogens is a simple procedure, which can be carried out in most laboratories. In an ideal world proper performance based approaches would permit a broad assessment of toxic potency irrespective of the material composition. Unfortunately the analysis required is complex and the definition of such approaches has proved controversial. In the absence of any progress on these issues the FROCC position is that the Halogen free classification remains valid. The Halogen free logo is a registered trademark to be used by association members on data sheets and other trade publicity to signify that the product concerned satisfies the FROCC definition of Halogen free.