HBCD temporary phase-out exemption: The EU Commission has officially published the decision (see pinfa Newsletter 57) to authorise 13 companies to continue to use the brominated flame retardant HBCDD (hexabromocyclododecane) in expanded polystyrene in building applications until August 2017, subject to the requirement to submit reports every three months on progress towards substituting the substance.
HBCDD is listed by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) with an exception for construction applications.ECHA/NI/16/03. “The European Commission grants authorisations for two uses of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD)” 20/1/2016
Biodegradation of flame retardants: a review paper, based on the work of the ENFIRO project (see pinfa Newsletter n°36) summarises current knowledge of FR biodegradation. This paper considers that some legacy BFRs used in the past may pose persistency issues or may partly decompose to possibly toxic compounds. Information regarding degradation of both alternative BFRs and organophosphorus FRs is considered inadequate. However, organophosphorus FRs are generally considered by the authors to be “more susceptible than BFRs to biodegradation due to their hydrolysable phosphorus ether bonds”.
“Biodegradation of brominated and organophosphorus flame retardants”, S. Waaijers & J. Parsons, Curr Op in Biotechnology 2016, 38, 14-23