Posted on 15/10/2015 in News 32 2015
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Reviews of flame retardant toxicology. An Elsevier journal special issue includes 12 research papers presenting animal studies and human epidemiological data concerning brominated and organophosphorus flame retardants. The introduction (Eubig et al.) underlines that flame retardant chemicals of a given class can have very different toxicological profiles. The special issue concludes with a comprehensive research review by Hendriks & Westerlink of over 250 studies of the neurotoxicity of brominated and alternative flame retardants.

For brominated flame retardants (BFRs), the authors assess in vivo data for effects on human, animal and fish behaviour, synaptic plasticity, neurotransmitter systems, and in vitro data for cytotoxicity, ROS production (reactive oxygen species), Ca2+ homeostatis, intracellular signalling, concluding that “the combined epidemiological and toxicological studies clearly underline the need for replacing FRs”. Non halogenated (PIN) and halogenated organophosphorus and inorganic (PIN) flame retardants are assessed, concluding that some may be “suitable substitute” FRs, others share neurotoxic effects and that for many data is currently inadequate. Amongst PIN phosphorus FRs, ALPI, BPDPP, DCP, EHDPP, IDDP, TBOEP, TEP, TIBP and TNBP are identified as potentially preferable alternatives. Some inorganic PIN FRs show neurotoxic potential in testing, but bioavailability and metabolism should be taken into account to assess possible risk. In a separate review, Fromme et al. assess c. 300 scientific papers on population exposure and risk-assessment of brominated flame retardants, concluding that population exposure to PBDEs and HBCD is considerably below levels susceptible to pose possible health risk based on toxicological data (Reference Dose Rfd), except for exposure to PBDEs in the USA. For more recent brominated flame retardants and TBBPA, the authors consider that more data on toxicology and exposure are needed for risk assessment.

ALPI = Aluminiumdiethylphosphinate, BPDPP = Resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate), DCP = Diphenylcresylphosphate, EHDPP = Ethylhexyldiphenylphosphate, IDDP = Isodecyl diphenyl phosphate, TBOEP = Tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate, TEP = Tris(ethyl) phosphate, TIBP = Tris(isobutyl) phosphate, TNBP = Tris(butyl) phosphate
“Neurotoxicity and risk assessment of brominated an alternative flame retardants”, H. Hendriks & R. Westerink, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, in press 2015 
See also Hendriks 2014 paper in pinfa Newsletter n°39
“Introduction to special issue: Neurotoxicity of brominated flame retardants and the quest for safer alternatives”, P. Eubig et al., Neurotoxicology and Teratology in print 2015 
“Brominated flame retardants–exposure and risk assessment for the general population”, H. Fromme, et al., Int J Hygiene & Industrial Health, in print 2015

Declaration of chemicals in articles tightened. A European Court of Justice ruling has confirmed that chemicals on the “candidate list of substances of very high concern” must be indicated if present in any component of products at < 0.1% by weight (that is the 0.1% limit applies to each plastic or electronic component in a computer and not to the complete computer). ECHA will now update its Guidance documents.

European Court of Justice of 10 September 2015 in case C-106/14. ECHA statement ECHA/NA/15/32

US CPSC consultation on organohalogen flame retardants. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is inviting comments on possible rulemaking on additive organohalogen flame retardants in children’s toys and care articles, upholstered furniture, mattresses and electronic equipment under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). Deadline for comment was 19th October 2015.  under Docket n° CPSC-2015-0022 

California report on insulation fire safety requirements. The California Office of the State Fire Marshal has published the report and recommendations following legislation AB127 on building insulation materials fire safety requirements. The report recommends to use both ASTM E119 (UL 263) and NFPA 286 (or IAC AC12 or AC377) tests for fire performance of insulation materials assemblies, running to failure not stopping after 15 minutes, to verify possible risk to firefighters in case of building fires. The working group considered exonerating from fire safety requirements construction insulation used in foundations (between earth and a concrete floor) but did not reach a conclusion because of concerns about fire risks during the manufacturing, transport, storage and installation of such materials.

“Flammability Standards for Building Insulation Materials”. Working Group Report and Recommendations. CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal. August 2015 

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