The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the final reports for its alternative flame retardant assessments to PentaBDE (penta brominated diphenyl ether) in polyurethane foam (PUF, particularly in furniture) and for alternative FRs in printed circuit boards (PCBs).
The EPA DfE (Design for the Environment) on alternative flame retardants for PUF (see pinfa Newsletter n° 22) presents a “hazard” evaluation for 18 alternative flame retardants: 2 brominated, 4 chlorinated and 12 PIN FRs. Based on this report, US EPA has indicated that e.g. the PIN flame retardant Clariant Exolit OP 560, a phosphorus based polyol, is “a safer alternative to pentaBDE” (see pinfa Newsletter n° 44). The report on PCBs presents a “Screening level hazard summary” for TBBPA (tetrabromobisphenol), used in a majority of printed circuit boards, and for 9 alternative FRs (see summary of draft report, December 2014, pinfa Newsletter n° 48). This report also looks at data on release of smoke, particulates, CO and CO2 for the different flame retardants, showing that the PCBs containing halogenated flame retardants emitted higher emissions of PAH (poly aromatic hydrocarbons), smoke and particulates compared to PCBs with PIN FRs, in incineration and open burn conditions, but those with PIN FRs had higher emissions than boards without flame retardants. Carbon monoxide emissions were similar for flame retarded and non-FR boards and peak heat releases were lower when flame retardants were used.
FRs considered in the USA EPA DfE printed circuit board report (PCBs): 1 reactive brominated FR (TBBPA); 2 reactive P-based PIN, FRs (DOPO, Fyrol PMP); 5 additive PIN FRs (aluminium diethyophospinate, ATH, MDH, melamine polyphosphate, amorphous silicon dioxide); 2 reactive polymeric FRs (DER 500 series – brominated, Dow XZ-92547 – P-based)
US EPA Design for the Environment “Flame Retardants Used in Flexible Polyurethane Foam: An Alternatives Assessment Update”, August 2015, 832 pages
US EPA Design for the Environment “Flame Retardants in Printed Circuit Boards – Final Report”, August 2015, 720 pages, http://www2.epa.gov