The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) launched a public consultation, closed 20th September 2019, on a proposed restriction on “intentionally added microplastics”. The proposed ban would cover microplastics particles where dimensions are 1 nm – 5 mm and also plastic fibres length 3 nm – 15 nm if length/diameter > 3. This would, if implemented, effectively ban the use of microplastics in any product where they are susceptible to reach the environment, with exemptions for “biodegradable” polymers (definition of biodegradability to be defined), for natural polymers (not chemically modified) and for some very specific uses. Importantly for flame retardants, the restriction would not apply if microplastics are “permanently incorporated into solid matrix” or cease to be microplastics during processing, and this could be expected to cover, for example, micro-dimensioned FR compound granules or micro-encapsulated mineral FR particles, to be confirmed.
ECHA consultation on microplastics, open to 20th September 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/growth/content/echa-public-consultation-restriction-dossier-microplastics-intentionally-added-products_en