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Trading Standards calls for improved flammability tests for Halloween costumes

Halloween costume flammability test Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Gateshead Trading Standards has called for improved flammability tests for Halloween costumes, after finding some garments in the region, which have been approved by UK and EU standards, remain highly flammable.

In 2014, the British Retail Consortium introduced a more stringent, voluntary additional safety test that its members could sign up to.

The test only approves material that has a maximum permitted rate of flame spread of 10mm per second. The current British and EU standard rate is 30mm per second.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Gateshead Trading Standards told ITV News it is positive that there have been improvements on the flammability testing, but say even the additional test could be made more stringent.

They said the issue is that the BRC test only focuses on the main material of a costume and not the accessories, like for example, the padding in the arm of a garment or a mask.

Halloween costume flammability test Credit: ITV News

When the material is tested on it's own it has a better chance of passing and being approved by the additional regulation. However, if the material were to be tested alongside the rest of the costume, including features like padding, it may not pass the test.

That test does cover material and what we’ve found is that when we’ve done the tests on the material, although it ignites, it will go out very quickly and in quite a lot of instances it won’t even ignite at all. That’s obviously really good news, but when you put the whole costume together, in terms of maybe, some of the additional padding you would have in shoulders or breast plates, or even the full face masks, you sometimes get, what we’re finding is that that’s actually igniting very, very quickly.

– Anneliese Hutchinson, Gateshead Trading Standards
Flammability regulations Credit: ITV News

The British Retail Consortium told ITV News "The BRC has led the way in developing guidance and tools to help all companies test products to a standard above those required by UK and EU regulations.

“We recommend that the UK Government and EU authorities revisit the standard that delivers compliance to the regulation in order to ensure all products on the market are effectively regulated to reflect the hazards presented by today’s style of costumes, including the fabrics and finishes used.”