John, Davis, Dow Chemical USA, presented the company’s response to the banning of HBCD on different world markets (EU REACH Annex XIV deadline 2015, Japan 2014, Canada under consideration) and the need to find a flame retardant solution for extruded and expanded polystyrene building insulation foams (XPS & EPS).
Around 100 possible flame retardants (halogenated and non- halogenated) were assessed, with progressive parallel screening of objectives of low toxicity, non PBT (Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic), fire performance and polymer compatibility and stability. This resulted in the polymeric FR being selected as the most sustainable alternative FR. After around 10 years, the flame retardant, a brominated polystyrene polymer, is today scaled up to full scale production, with Dow licences to three companies. The US EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) programme assessed these polymers in 2014, concluding that the polymeric FR was anticipated to be safer than HBCD for multiple environmental and health endpoints (hazard).