BPF sets the record straight on PVC windows
Published:  07 December, 2009

LONDON: The British Plastics Federation, through its PVCaware.org team, has acted quickly to correct an article on PVC relating to the Camberwell fire that appeared in the Daily Mail on Monday 30 November.

Headlined 'Do uPVC Windows and Cladding Help Fires Spread?', the article quoted opinions of several people described as 'experts' that the BPF has repeatedly pointed out are wrong.

After discussions with the newspaper's managing editor, the contents of the following letter was agreed and published in the Mail on Sunday on 6 December under the headline 'Safety of uPVC'.

"Our information is that the windows at Lakanal House [Camberwell] were metal, not uPVC. Moreover, independent tests have shown that uPVC window frames do not accelerate fires. The material is slow to ignite and its chlorine contents acts as a fire retardant. It does not create burning droplets, nor does it give off cyanide. For those reasons, PVC is used in many safety-critical applications such as cable ducting." It was signed Philip Law of the British Plastics Federation.

The Daily Mail admitted that after following the BPF's suggestion to contact Southwark Council, it was unable to confirm that information given in the article on 30 November was correct.

An email from the paper's managing editor stated: "I should point out it was not our journalist who was asserting these things, he was reporting experts' opinion and indicated clearly that theories about the fire at Lakanal House were conjecture which have yet to be proved."

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