Why Should I Use 'Low Smoke Zero Halogen' Cables and Other Halogen-Free Products?

By: CableOrganizer®


If you’re trying to decide on network cabling and are wondering what makes Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) — or Halogen-Free cables — so special, CableOrganizer® is here to make it all a little clearer. In this article, we’ll explain a little about what halogens are — their positives and negatives — and why it’s safer and healthier to go halogen-free whenever possible.


When grouped together, the elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine make up a chemical family known as the Halogens. You may not have been aware of it, but halogens are used in many applications: and most of us encounter them daily. Just think about it: the fluoride in your toothpaste, the chlorine in your pool, the iodine in your medicine cabinet…they’re all halogens!


Pool maintenance, first aid and dental hygiene aside, halogens are also widely used as flame retardants in a variety of plastics, including the PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that has been in many cable jackets and electronics-related products. Unfortunately, when it comes to the health of both humans and the environment, halogen-based flame retardants can be a double-edged sword. Ironically, while these halogen compounds keep plastics from catching fire and spreading flames, they can also release hazardous gases if the plastic ignites. Carcinogenic substances like Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Nitro Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and dioxins are all by-products produced when halogenated plastics burn. These gaseous compounds pose a double threat: not only are they dangerous in vapor form, but they can also condense into caustic acids (such as hydrochloric acid) when they encounter water.


It’s all in the name: “Low Smoke Zero Halogen” sums everything up: these materials (such as polypropylene) contain absolutely no halogens, but still have excellent flame resistance; and produce very little smoke when burned. LSZH cabling is one of the safest choices for plenum use and any other applications in which smoke is likely to both build up and come near people, since no harmful toxins are released. Low Smoke Zero Halogen cable also has the added benefit of complying with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Some may have the “CE” marking, indicating the manufacturer has complied with the European Union’s standards for safety, environmental protection and health. These products may additionally be earmarked with North American safety and environmental standards, including certification UL Solutions and CSA Group® after rigorous testing.

When health and safety are the top priorities in your installation, be sure to check out CableOrganizer® for our selection of halogen-free products below:

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