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Updating of PeBDE Background document under the POP-protocol of the LRTAP Convention

Overview of Existing Information on C-PeBDE Production, Use Environmental Releases,and Reduction Measures and Cost/Benefits with Alternatives/Substitutes.


Pentabrominated diphenyl ether (PeBDE) is a brominated flame retardant. Because of its chemical and toxic properties and wide spread occurrence in the environment and in humans PeBDE causes concern in many regions in the world. Brominated flame retardants are a group of brominated organic substances that inhibit or suppress combustion in organic material. They are used in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), textiles and plastics in vehicles, building materials, paints and insulation foam.

There are national and international standards for fire safety for some product groups. This applies for example to, electrical material, industrial packaging, upholstered furniture, curtains, electronic household appliances and electrical cables. These standards specify the flame-retarding properties that are required but not which flame retardants are to be used. Until now, brominated flame retardants have been considered to be cheapest and most efficient. Today, it has become increasingly more common to replace these substances either with flame retardants without bromine or by changing the design of the product such that there is no need for the continued use of flame retardants. It has also become important to avoid the use of products containing flame retardants if such is not absolutely necessary on the basis of fire safety.

At present, due to research efforts on the part of industry and independent research organisations in the last two decades, more is known about the use, fate adverse properties and exposure of PeBDE. Those findings have resulted in voluntary and regulatory phase-outs of this compound in several regions in the world.

Production and Use

In 2001 alone, almost 70,000 metric tons of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were produced globally, almost half of which was used in products sold in the U. S. and Canada. PeBDE is produced in Israel and Japan. U.S. produced PeBDE until 2004. The use of PeBDE has been voluntarily withdrawn from the Japanese market. Reductions in production in Japan are therefore also likely. The most common use (95-98%) of PeBDE has been in polyurethane (PUR) foam since 1999. This foam contains between 10 and 18% of the commercial PeBDE formulation (typically made up of 75% PeBDE). This PUR is in turn used mainly as PUR foam for furniture and upholstery in automotive and aviation industry and domestic furnishing. Other uses are in rigid polyurethane elastomers (e.g., in instrument casings), in epoxy resins and phenol resins (electric and electronic appliances). PeBDE can also be in minor amounts in textiles, in mining industry rubber belts and in oil drilling fluids.

Before the phase-out in U.S. the majority of PeBDE formulation produced globally was used in North America (>97 %). At the end of 2004 in U.S., approximately 7.5% of the more than 2.1 billion pounds of flexible polyurethane foam produced each year in the U.S. contained the commercial PeBDE formulation.

Based on the last information on total market demand of PeBDE from Bromine science and environmental forum, the total market demand has decreased from 8,500 tons in 1999 to 7,500 tons in 2001. The estimated cumulative use of PeBDE since 1970 was 100 000 t in 2001 (BSEF, 2001). Since then actions to regulate or voluntary phase-out PeBDE has been conducted in several regions in the world. According to an action plan for Washington State on PBDEs, PeBDE has been or is to be phased-out in several international markets.

Table 1. PBDE volume estimates: Total market demand by region in 2001 in metric tons (and by percent) (BSEF, 2001).

Mixtures of PBDE




Rest of the world


% of total

world usage















Deca-mix PBDE








Octa-mix PBDE








Penta-mix PBDE














Environmental releases and reduction measures

Brominated flame retardants are released into the environment during the manufacture of products, during their use and after they have been discarded as waste. A manufacturing process that does not cause emissions is not sufficient. It is also necessary to avoid emissions from products during use as well as after they have been discarded. Most of the PeBDE is released as diffuse pollution during and after the service life of articles treated with PeBDE and as small-scale point source pollution from the waste management chain of the end products.

PeBDE is synthesised from diphenyl ether by brominating it with B2 in the presence of a powdered iron/Friedell-Crafts catalyst. The producers of PeBDE have reported that the major routes of PeBDE to the environment during production are filter waste and rejected material, both of which are disposed of in landfills. Waste water releases of PeBDE may also occur from spent scrubber solutions. According to the EU risk assessment of PeBDE, the emissions in polyurethane production are assumed to occur prior to the foaming process when handling the additives (discharges to water) and during the curing (emissions to air).

Through volatilisation during the service life: 3.9 % of the PeBDE present in articles was estimated to be released through volatilisation during their approximated service life of 10 years in the EU risk assessment. PeBDE is used solely as an additive chemical. Thus it can volatilise from the products during their whole life-cycle. There are also releases from products due to weathering, wearing, leaching and volatilisation at the end of their service life during disposal or recycling operations (dismantling, grinding or other handling of waste, transport, storage, etc.). The annual releases in the EU region from the product life-cycle of PUR products were estimated to be distributed among the different compartments as follows: 75 % to soil, 1 % to air and 24 % to surface water. Releases from landfills by leaching and emissions from incineration are considered negligible.

Measures must therefore be aimed to reduce:

- releases from production of PeBDE,

- releases during manufacture of products containing PeBDE,

- releases during the use of PeBDE containing products and

- releases from waste containing PeBDE.

Long-range transport in the atmosphere is another source of inputs of brominated flame retardants to the environment. Inputs from this source can only be reduced with international agreements that limit their use globally.

National and legislative Controls

United States

Industry in U.S. voluntarily ceased manufacture of PeBDE in December 2004.

U.S. EPA followed this action with a proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) that will

require notification of, and evaluation by, EPA of any new use of PeBDE, requiring manufacturers and importers to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing the manufacture or import of on or after January 1, 2005. The required notice would provide U.S. EPA with the opportunity to evaluate any intended new use and associated activities and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs. The proposed rule would not prohibit the import of products containing Penta-BDE (e.g., mattresses, upholstered furniture).

U.S.EPA has also drafted a PBDE Project Plan, expected to be published in early 2006.

In November 2003 the Great Lakes Chemical Corporation (now Chemtura), that is the sole U.S. manufacture of the commercial mixture PeBDE, agreed to phase out use of PeBDE by the end of 2004. California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Maine, Maryland, Michigan and Oregon have adopted legislation to ban the manufacture or distribution

in commerce of any product containing pentaBDE or octaBDE.��� These

restrictions are scheduled to take effect beginning in 2006.� Similar legislation has been proposed in several other states.


In May 2004, Environment Canada released a Draft "Environmental Screening Assessment Report on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)" for public comment. The draft concludes that seven PBDEs, including those found in PeBDE commercial mixture, are considered "toxic" under section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and recommends that they be proposed for addition to the List of Toxic Substances in Schedule 1 of CEPA 1999. It further proposes that consideration be given to adding three PBDEs, which are found in PeBDE, to the Virtual Elimination List under CEPA 1999.

A substance is recommended for addition to the Virtual Elimination List if it has been determined to be persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic and primarily the result of human activity. The Virtual Elimination List is compiled by the Canadian Ministers of Environment and Health. The Ministers must specify the level of quantification for each substance on the List and, having done so, must prescribe the quantity or concentration of the substance that may be released into the environment either alone or in combination with any other substance from any source or type of source. The objective of virtual elimination will be achieved by addressing sources of release to the environment or by removing or managing the substance if it is already in the environment.

In February 2004, Health Canada released a "Screening Assessment Report- Health: Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) [Tetra-, Penta-, Hexa-, Hepta-, Octa-, Nona- and Deca- Congeners]". The report also proposes that, principally on the basis of environmental considerations, PBDEs as a group be considered "toxic" as defined in Section 64 of CEPA 1999.

The proposed Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Regulations prohibit the manufacture of teta-BDE, penta-BDE, hexa-BDE, hepta-BDE, octa-BDE, nona-BDE and deca-BDE.� They also prohibit the use, sale, offer for sale and import of tetra-BDE, penta-BDE, hexa-BDE and mixtures, polymers, and resins containing these substances, and the manufacture of these mixtures, polymers and resins.�� Canada is also currently developing a Regulation to address the use of PBDEs in products that will cover, at a minimum, all substances in the Penta mixture.

Information gathered through an Environment Canada use pattern survey in 2001 identified that PentaBDE in 2000.� Significant reformulation activity has occurred in recent years related to this substance.� All companies that reported uses of PentaBDE in 2000 reported minor remaining uses in 2005, and complete phase-out by 2006.�

PBDEs are not manufactured in Canada.� Results from a survey conducted in 2000 indicated that approximately 1300 tonnes of PBDE commercial products were imported into Canada.� Based on quantities reported, commercial PentaBDE was imported in the greatest volume.

European Union

The European Union (EU) currently has two main laws which regulate the market and use of

PBDEs in Europe. Directive 2003/11/EC of February 6, 2003, passed by the European

Parliament and European Council, banned the marketing and use of PeBDE as of August 15, 2004. In January 2003, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union passed Directive 2002/95/EC, “Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances to Electrical and Electronic Equipment” (RoHS), which lists the substances which are to be phased out of electrical and electronic equipment by July 1, 2006. The list includes PeBDE. According to the WEEE directive BFR plastics shall be separated from Electrical and electronic equipment prior to recycling.

According to EU legislation, chemicals containing brominated flame retardants that are hazardous to health or the environment must be classified and labelled before they are placed on the market. PeBDE classification in EU is as follows:

R 48/21/22 ������������� ������������� ������������� Harmful: danger of serious damage to health by prolonged������������� ������������� ������������� ������������� ������������� ������������� exposure in contact with skin and if swallowed.

R64����������� ������������� ������������� ������������� May cause harm to breastfed babies.

N; R50/53����� ������������� ������������� ������������� Very toxic to aquatic organisms may cause long-term adverse

������������� ������������� ������������� ������������� effects in the aquatic

������������������ ������������� ������������� ������������� environment.

The EU has also included PBDE in the list of substances for which the IPCC Directive requires an exchange of information to be organized, and PeBDE is on the list of priority hazardous substances under the Water Policy Directive. PeBDE is on the list of substances for which risk assessments are to be carried out within the EU. Processing of the risk assessments for PeBDE was completed in August 2000.


Norway has established a national action plan for brominated flame retardants in 2002. The plan was last updated in 2005. One of the conducted actions is a national survey on uses of brominated flame retardants in products in Norway finished in 2003. Norway has banned production, import, export and marketing and use of PeBDE and mixtures containing 0.1 percent per weight or more of PeBDE with effect from 1 July 2004. The production, import, export and marketing of products or flame retardant parts of products containing more than 0.1 percent per weight of PeBDE or more was also banned. From 1 January 2004, products containing more than 0.25 % PeBDE are classified as hazardous waste when they are discarded.

According to Norwegian legislation, chemicals containing brominated flame retardants that are hazardous to health or the environment must be classified and labelled before they are placed on the market. PeBDE has been classified according to EU classification.

During the summer of 2004, the target of collecting 80 % of discarded electrical and electronic equipment was reached; cf. the provisions concerning EEE waste in the Norwegian Hazardous Waste Regulations.


The Swiss prohibition of pentaBDE in the ORRChem is the application of the EU Directive 2003/11/EC. According to the Ordinance on Risk Reduction related to Chemical Products (ORRChem) of 18 May 2005: Annex 1.9 (Art. 3)
2.2.2� 1) It is prohibited to place on the market and to use pentaBDE and octaBDE or substances and preparations with a pentaBDE or octaBDE content equal to or greater than 0.1% by mass, except for analysis and research purposes.
2.2.2. 2) It is prohibited for new articles to be placed on the market if their parts that are treated with flame retardants have a content of pentaBDE or octa BDE� exceeding 0.1% by mass.

Swiss Federal Office for the Environment reports uses to are largely be unknown. They expect pentaBDE to be still present in office equipment (e.g. PC screens, copy machines, laptop accumulators), furniture (e.g. foaming materials, textile coatings), textiles, electrical components in the kitchen, wall paints and building materials (e.g. isolation foams).

The consumption of pentaBDE in CH at the end of the 90's was estimated to be 1.5 t/a. No pentaBDE-containing half or finished products are produced or processed in CH. Practically the total of imported amount is found in cars (fire-protected upholstery).


In 2002 China’s Ministry of Information began drafting regulations entitled the “Management

Methods for the Prevention and Control of Pollution from Electronics Information Products”

(Methods). Among other chemicals, the Methods ban PBDEs in electronic information products. The list of products covered is still under development, as are standards for maximum tolerated thresholds and labelling requirements. The regulations are often referred to as the “China RoHS” because they incorporate the substance regulations of the European Union’s RoHS Directive, including those for PBDEs. China’s draft regulations differ from the RoHS however, in a series of requirements for the labelling of the toxic-substance content, material content, recyclability, “safe-use”, and point-of-origin of products manufactured and imported into China.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is made up of 30 member countries., and has active relationships with about 70 other countries As part of the OECD’s Risk Reduction Programme, a risk assessment of PBDEs along with two other flame retardants, polybrominated biphenyls and tetrabromobisphenol A, was published in 1994. This led producers of PBB and PBDE to enter into a voluntary agreement with the OECD in 1995 to minimize the risk of production spills and for the industry to refrain from producing other PBDEs than those already on the market. Joint meetings between OECD and the industry oversee industry's implementation of the commitments.420

OSPAR Commission

The OSPAR Commission is made up of representatives of the Governments of 15 Contracting Parties and the European Commission, representing the European Community. In 1998, the

OSPAR Commission placed PBDEs on its “List of Chemicals for Priority Action.” An OSPAR Commission background document on PBDEs was reviewed by Sweden in 2001. The next full review of this document is not planned before 2008.

At the 4th North Sea Conference, it was decided to phase out the use of brominated flame retardants by 2020.

Stockholm Convention

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants. The Convention outlines measures to reduce or eliminate releases from the intentional production and use of 12 chemical substances to be taken by nation states that become members of the Convention. The Convention was adopted by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries on May 22, 2001, and entered into force on May 17, 2004. Today there are 117 states that are parties to the Convention.

In May 2005 at the first Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention,

Norway proposed PeBDE to be added to the list of POPs chemicals. At the POP Review Committee meeting in November of 2005, PeBDE was decided to meet the screening criteria in the convention for POPs. Now the Committee is preparing a global risk profile for this substance, with Norway as lead country.

The Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement designed to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals. It is an instrument to provide importing Parties with the power to make informed decisions on which chemicals they want to receive and to exclude those they cannot manage safely.

The text of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade was adopted at the Diplomatic Conference held in Rotterdam on 10 September 1998. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004 and became legally binding for its Parties. Today there are 102 states that are parties to the Convention.

PeBDE is proposed by EU to the Rotterdam Convention in 2003 and is on the agenda for the next meeting in 2006.

The Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that provides a mechanism to address the common concerns and challenges faced by the Arctic governments and the people of the Arctic. Member states are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faeroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and United States of America. The Council is a unique forum for co-operation between national governments and indigenous peoples. Six international organizations representing many Arctic indigenous communities have the status of Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council and are involved in the work of the Council in full consultation with governments.

Significant monitoring and assessment of pollution in the Arctic is performed under the auspices of the Arctic Council (The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme). This work is important in identifying pollution risks and their impact on Arctic ecosystems and in assessing the effectiveness of international agreements on pollution control, such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Under this umbrella important scientific findings have brought up PeBDE as one important pollutant of the Arctic.

In the autumn of 2004, the Arctic Council adopted a new arctic project concerning the reduction of brominated flame retardants. The project will be managed by Norway.

Alternatives / Substitutes - Costs and Benefits

PeBDE flame retardants in products can be replaced in three ways:

a different flame retardant can be substituted in a given material (i.e. plastic or foam);

a different flame retardant in a different type of plastic or foam can be substituted; or

a product can be redesigned so that its very structure eliminates the need for flame retardants.

With the discontinuation of PeBDE in important markets, manufacturers are actively identifying alternatives. Some companies, such as IKEA, have already phased out all PBDEs. Another factor encouraging the development of alternatives is the fact that many governments and large corporations have developed green procurement guidelines that prohibit the use of PBDEs in electronic products. As of mid-November 2005, a number of big manufacturers were phasing out all PBDEs (see appendix 1).

Examples of alternative flame retardants processes currently being utilized include:

Bromine-free circuit boards for TVs, VCRs and DVD players (Sony)

Phosphorous-based flame retardants for printed circuit boards (Hitachi)

Flame resistant plastic without deca-BDE (Toshiba)

Halogen-free low-voltage internal wires (Panasonic/Matsushita)

Fire barrier technologies for mattresses (Serta)

Chemical alternatives

The alternative flame retardants for PeBDE in Table 2 are listed in Washington final chemical action plan (January 2006). A big part of the information is gathered from companies and all the chemicals listed are already in use. The human health or environmental impacts of these alternatives have not been investigated by the authors. Hexabromocyclododecane listed in table 2 as an alternative for PeBDE in coatings and adhesives is not a preferable alternative. This compound already causes concern because of its chemical properties in several countries and regions. EU risk reduction strategy for PeBDE (DETR 2000) suggests that only tetrabromobenzoate (TBBE) and chlorinated alkyl phosphate esthers, tri (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) in particular, followed by phosphate esters, are relevant chemical alternatives to PeBDE.

Table 2. Alternative flame retardants for PeBDE by substrate.

Substrate (material, or

matrix, in which the

flame retardant is used)

Products in which the

substrate is used in flame

retardant quantity

Alternative flame retardants in

commercial materials

Alternative materials:

Non-flammable or

containing halogen-free

flame retardants


• Printed circuit boards

• Electronic component


• Technical laminates

• Reactive nitrogen and phosphorus constituents

• Ammonium polyphosphate

• Aluminium trihydroxide

• Polyphenylene sulphide

Unsaturated polyester

• Technical laminates

• Plastic parts in


• Ammonium polyphosphate

• Aluminium trihydroxide

• Dibromostyrene

• Tetrabromophthalic Anhydride Based Diol

• Tetrabromophthalic Anhydride

• Bis (Tribromophenoxy) ethane

None identified

Rigid polyurethane foam

• Insulation of coldstorage


rooms, pipes, etc.

• Ammonium polyphosphate

• Red phosphorus

• Tetrabromophthalate Diol

• Tetrabromophthalic Anhydride Based Diol


• Some applications:

mineral wool or other

technical solutions

Flexible polyurethane


• Furniture

• Components in


• Ammonium polyphosphate

• Melamine

• Reactive phosphorus polyols

• Tetrabromophthalic anhydride derivative

• Phosphorous-Bromine

• Reofos NHP (halogen-free

phosphorus flame retardant)

• Bisphosphate

None identified


Triaryl phosphate isopropylated

None identified


• Tetrabromophthalate diol

• Tetrabromophthalic anhydride based diol

• Hexabromocyclododecane

• Reomol� TOP

• Bis (Tribromophenoxy) ethane

None identified


• Tetrabromophthalate Diol

• Tetrabromophthalic anhydride based diol

• Hexabromocyclododecane

• Triaryl phosphate

• Bis (Tribromophenoxy) ethane

None identified

The U.S. EPA Design for the Environment, completed an assessment for alternatives to PeBDE in PUR which was released in September 2005. US EPA has established a Furniture Flame Retardancy Partnership with a broad set of stakeholders to assess environmentally safer chemical alternatives to PeBDE and to investigate other technologies for improving furniture fire safety. Leading U.S. flame-retardant chemical manufacturers identified 14 chemical formulations that are viable substitutes for PeBDE in large-scale production of low-density flexible polyurethane foam (Table 3). EPA assessed the hazards, potential exposures and tendency to bioaccumulate and to persist in the environment for the chemicals in each formulation. Those alternatives are drop-in replacement chemicals for PeBDE. Existing storage and transfer equipment as well as foam production equipment can be used without significant modification. Alternatives compatible with existing process equipment at foam manufacturing facilities are the most cost effective, because they do not require the plants to modify their processes or purchase new equipment. The assessment looked into hazard effects, persistence and bioaccumulation. The levels of bioaccumulation and persistence reported for the identified chemical formulations were lower compared to the levels of persistence and bioaccumulation of PeBDE.

Table 3. Potential Flame-Retardant Chemical Formulations

Albemarle Corporation

Ameribrom, Inc. (ICL Industrial Products)

Great Lakes Chemical Corporation

Supresta (Akzo Nobel)


FR 513













However, other chemicals (besides these 14 formulations) are currently used for other types of foam and in niche markets for low-density polyurethane foam. The chemicals are used domestically and abroad to flame retard high-density, flexible polyurethane foam. Chemical companies and foam manufacturing facilities have experimented with their use in low-density flexible foams with moderate success. Generally the use of these chemicals either results in scorching of the foam (an aesthetic effect unless severe) or a negative effect on the physical properties of foam. Also, many formulations of these chemicals are available only as solids; making them less desirable as drop in substitutes for PeBDE. Since the commercial mixture PeBDE is liquid addition of a solid flame retardant may require changes such as additional mixing steps and alteration of the process times. In some cases, these changes can have significant effects on foam quality or cost-effectiveness of manufacture.

Three of the most commonly used chemicals that various reports have suggested may be viable alternatives to PeBDE is melamine, Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) (or TCPP) and Ammonium Polyphosphate (APP). There are numerous international manufacturers of melamine. Melamine and its derivatives are non-halogenated flame retardants, typically used as a crystalline powder. Flame retardants based on melamine are currently used in flexible polyurethane foams, intumescent coatings, polyamides and thermoplastic polyurethanes. They are used effectively in Europe in high-density flexible polyurethane foams but require 30 to 40 percent melamine per weight of the polyol.

TDCPP is a chlorinated phosphate ester that is often used in polyurethane foam formulations. It is used in high-density foam domestically and abroad and has been used domestically in low-density foams when light scorching (discoloration) is not a primary concern.

APP is an additive flame retardant containing nitrogen and phosphorus, typically used in a crystalline form. It is currently used to flame retard flexible and rigid polyurethane foams, as well as in intumescent laminations, molding resins, sealants and glues. However, chemical manufactures and foam manufacturing trade groups do not consider it to be an alternative for PeBDE on a large scale. Reasons for this are that APP is typically incorporated as a solid, it has adverse effects on foam properties and processing and it is not considered to be as effective as a fire retardant compared to other alternatives.

White foam has become the industry standard for flame-retarded, low-density foam in the mattress and bedding industries, and in many upholstered furniture applications in the United States. The color of the foam, however, is not a determinant of its flame retardancy. Greater acceptance of darkened foams would allow manufacturers to choose from a wider variety of alternative flame retardants. Barrier fabrics are allowing mattress manufacturers to mask the color.

Non-chemical alternatives

Non-chemical alternatives are also identified in the assessment. Three currently available, alternative technologies for flame retarding furniture include barrier technologies, graphite impregnated foam and surface treatment. Graphite impregnated foam and surface treatments have limited commercial uses. Barrier technologies are predominantly used in mattress manufacturing rather than residential upholstered furniture. But there is considerable interest in future applications of these technologies for the furniture industry as well.

In addition to the following technologies, it should be noted that some furniture designs exclude the use of filling materials, and even fabric altogether. Design therefore, should be considered when evaluating alternative means for achieving flame retardancy in furniture. Flame-retardant barrier materials can be a primary defense in protecting padding for furniture and mattresses. Manufacturers can layer barrier materials to improve the flame retardancy of their products. This layering approach allows a product to maintain its fire resistance even if one layer is compromised. There are many types of barrier materials available. Fabrics composed of natural fibers such as cotton that are chemically treated to make them flame retardant are flame-retardant barrier materials. The hazards of these chemical treatments have not been assessed in the report. Fabrics composed of synthetic fibers that are inherently flame retardant are also flame-retardant barrier materials. Plastic films derived from flame-retardant resins are also flame-retardant barrier materials. These materials are designed and manufactured to meet specific flammability standards. This also explains the large number of flame-retardant barrier materials that are available. Flame-retardant barrier materials can be characterized by cost, resulting in three primary groups. The first group of flame-retardant materials is the chemically treated, primarily boric acid treated, cotton-based materials. These materials are the least expensive flame-retardant barrier materials available. Mattress manufacturers that base their material decisions predominantly on cost prefer these flame retardants. The second group of flame-retardant materials is a blend of inexpensive natural fibers and expensive synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers used in these blends include VISIL, Basofil, Polybenzimidazole, KEVLAR, NOMEX and fiberglass. Smaller manufacturers of furniture and mattresses in niche markets use these materials. These blends are commonly used in bus and airplane seating. The third group of flame-retardant materials is composed solely of expensive, high-performance synthetic fibers. They are generally used in industrial or high-performance applications such as firemen’s coats and astronaut space suits.


Washington State Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Chemical Action Plan: Draft Final Plan, December 1, 2005

Major Brominated Flame Retardants Estimates, BSEF, viewed at http://www.bsefsite.

com/docs/BFR_vols_2001.doc, March 25, 2004.

Alaee M, Arias P, Sj�din A, Bergman �. An overview of commercially used brominated flame retardants, their applications, their use patterns in different countries/regions and possible modes of release. Environment International 29 (2003) 683-689.

Norwegian action plan for the reduction of emissions of brominated flame retardants. Updated in 2005. http://www.sft.no/arbeidsomr/kjemikalier/flammehemmere/brominatedflameretardants_actionplan.htm

U.S. EPA, Design for the Environment, 2005. Furniture Flame Retardancy Partnership:

Environmental Profiles of Chemical Flame-Retardant Alternatives for Low-Density

Polyurethane Foam.

DETR, 2000. Risk Reduction Strategy and Analysis of Advantages and

Drawbacks for Pentabromodiphenyl Ether, RPA.

Environmental screening Assessment report on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). February 2004. Draft for public comments. Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Screening assessment report – Health. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) [Tetra-, Penta-, Hexa-, Hepta-, Octa-, Nona- and Deca-Congeners] . February 2004. Health Canada.

COM, 2000. Risk Assessment of Diphenyl Ether, Pentabromoderivative (Pentabromodiphenyl Ether). CAS Number: 32534-81-9, EINECS Number: 251-084-2. Final Report of August 2000, Commission of the European Communities. Rapporteur: United Kingdom.

Pentabromodiphenyl ether as a global� POP. TemaNord 2001:579. Nordic council of ministers. Copenhagen 2001.


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