Seraphina Safety Apparel Advocates for Non-Melting Bras to Elevate Safety in Thermal Environments

Seraphina Safety discusses the crucial role of flame-resistant base layers and undergarments for individuals exposed to thermal hazards. Seraphina Safety Apparel is a leading woman-owned specialty manufacturer and advocate for innovative flame-resistant (FR) safety apparel, emphasizes the importance of non-melting bras and flame-resistant base layers in mitigating risks associated with extreme temperatures and/or thermal environments.

The allure of comfortable athletic wear that keeps individuals cool in extreme work environments, where heat, fire, and molten metal are present, is undeniable. The moisture-wicking properties of lightweight garments are particularly appealing under the warmth generated by flame-resistant clothing. The reluctance to layer flame-resistant clothing is a sentiment shared by many, raising concerns about compromised safety on the job.

But why does it matter? Unknown to many, the fabrics commonly found in traditional athletic wear have the potential to melt and adhere to the skin when exposed to extreme heat hazards and/or thermal conditions. Even with outer layers designed to be flame resistant (FR), synthetic fibers in undergarments can pose a serious threat. Additionally, these materials may release toxic fumes when subjected to fire. The absence of flame-resistant properties in these garments renders them susceptible to catching fire, leading to prolonged burning and heightened risks of severe injuries.

Seraphina Safety Apparel addresses this critical issue by offering a line of flame-resistant undergarments and base layers that combine moisture-wicking benefits and lightweight airiness of athletic wear with superior protection against heat, fire, and molten metal. This ensures individuals experience the same cooling sensation while being assured of enhanced protection in the face of potential hazards.

The significance of having the right safety gear for the job cannot be overstated, and it starts with the clothing closest to the skin. By choosing flame-resistant undergarments and base layers, individuals prioritize the safety of their skin and overall well-being. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart V: Flame Resistant Clothing and Arcrated Protection is often referenced as advising individuals to wear undergarments made of “natural fibers,” however while 100% cotton underwear may be easy to find, bras are not. And, to say that cotton, silk, or wool are safe options because they are “natural fibers” is misleading in the “protection” they may offer.

It is true they may not melt –but 100% cotton does disintegrate. Untreated cotton will ignite and continue to burn against the skin adding no protection from extreme heat or fire. When a thermal hazard finds it way through the other layer(s) of protective FR clothing, cotton undergarments will not stop it from burning the skin. Finding a bra made from 100% cotton is a challenge. If women can find one, it lacks support, fit, and comfort as cotton holds moisture which adds weight to the bra causing it to sag and pull creating back, neck, and shoulder pain. Having excess moisture trapped against the skin can also lead to skin irritation and infections including yeast infections under the breast which can be
painful and difficult to treat.

Most cotton bras are at best 90% cotton with 10% flammable fibers that will melt when exposed to heat, fire, and molten metal. In our own backyard burning tests, the 90% cotton bra ignited within 3 seconds of exposure to extreme heat and melted into nothing within 10 seconds. We
display the melted remains at our booth when exhibiting at trade shows so people can see what happens.

Silk is another “natural fiber” that is often suggested. Like cotton, finding a 100% silk bra is difficult. Pure silk bras are usually more lingerie than they are bras and have a price tag of $300 or more. A silk bra will not offer the support needed for a typical work day and sweat stains silk
easily and permanently which also creates odor. Silk “blends” also introduce meltable fibers that take away any benefit the “natural fiber” may have offered.

Wool is the third “natural fiber” mentioned which in all of my years fitting bras and working with undergarments, I have experienced little success in selling wool bras. Those that are on the market are not 100% wool. They too, are “blends” that introduce meltable fibers in order to make them comfortable when worn next to the skin. There is often no support or structure in these bras and despite being labeled as “sports” bras, they are usually more of a leisure bra making it difficult to wear during a long work day.

Our FR solutions create a Total Body Protection system with products designed to cover as much skin as possible using advanced technical fabric that is lightweight, moisture-wicking to keep us cool and dry, while offering superior protection from heat, fire, and molten metal. The CAT 2 fabric has an ATPV of 17 and is made of pre-burned fibers that require 3x the amount of oxygen in the air to even begin to hold a flame. It is inherently flame-resistant with no chemicals added making it a non-toxic protective solution. This is important to women who have experienced side effects including headaches and dizziness from chemically treated options. It is also important to anyone concerned with hormone or infertility issues related to the absorption of chemicals through the skin.

Our designs are very intentional with attention given to every detail to make it a premium product with superior protection and comfort. We create garments to fit all the shapes of women with an extended size range on both ends of the spectrum. We continue to host Fit Forums with women working in these industrial occupations to keep moving forward in the development of new products to solve old problems. I love being onsite with clients in the workplace to get a feel for the environment they are working in and see how the clothing needs to move and work with them.

As an advocate for women in the workplace having access to safety apparel designed for them, it is time to change the narrative from acknowledging the need to focusing on increasing access to all of the products being made for women by specialty manufacturers. Products exist and are in the marketplace, they just may not be available through the distribution channels that have always been in place. Change is coming. Companies concerned with the safety of women in their workforce are looking outside the box and finding products women need.

About Seraphina Safety Apparel:

Seraphina Safety Apparel offers premium, next-generation flame-resistant apparel that is disrupting what has been and revolutionizing what’s next for women working in industrial, military, fire-service, motorsports and more. Made in the USA.

Kelly Franko, founder of Seraphina Safety Apparel