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Where, When and Why Should You Use Low-Smoke Zero Halogen Cabling?

Where, When and Why Should You Use Low-Smoke Zero Halogen Cabling?

  2013-02-04         sparksdirect         Advice » Lighting Design Advice

While researching the PopPack twin batten fluorescent light fitting to present an accurate description on our website, we came across an unusual specification: according to the manufacturer [Thorn Lighting], the PopPack range features zero-halogen cabling.

Strange, we thought. We almost never see the cabling specified. Why is a zero-halogen cable so special?

Why a Zero-Halogen Cable is So Special

For a basic definition: a zero-halogen cable does not contain any of the elements (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine) known collectively as "halogens." For some reasons why they are notable, we turn to Wikipedia, which offers two short bullet points:
  1. It is often lighter, so overall cable network system weights can be reduced.
  2. The environmental impact of halogen free cabling can be lower if there are fewer toxic chemicals.
It also seems that zero-halogen cables (known as LSZH, or Low-Smoke Zero-Halogen) are designed with sheathing that emits low smoke and low levels of toxic material in the event of a fire.

This property also means that these cables are more easily disposed of, because they do not release harmful fumes into the environment.

When LSZH Cables Matter

Because the purpose of LSZH cables is generally to minimise risk from the after-effects of an electrical fire like gas and smoke inhalation, they are generally used in large public spaces where there is a risk of fire.

After the King's Cross fire in 1987, for example, LSZH sheathing became mandatory for all electrical wiring in London Underground stations.

They may also be found in electrical fittings where a fire may cause extra complications, such as in stairlifts for the elderly.

So where would we install this light fitting? Essentially in any largeish public area, where there might one day be a fire. We hope this has been helpful to you!