Most pin flame retardants have an environmentally friendly profile, which means that they pose no harm to the environment and do not bio-accumulate in biota. In addition they have a low (eco) toxicity profile and will eventually mineralize in nature. Due to these characteristics, none of the currently commercially used non-halogenated flame retardants are considered to be PBT or vPvB.

Manufacturers of flame retardants addressed data gaps and commissioned necessary tests and studies, because these are required by the European chemicals legislation, REACH (1907/2006/EC). Under REACH not only hazard data, but also data concerning emissions, uses and end of life are gathered. In the registration dossiers submitted to the European Chemicals Agency you find a wealth of detailed substance information, including summaries of toxicity and eco-toxicity tests (see here). One company has also commissioned a life cycle emission study.

There have been various independent, third party evaluations of non halogenated flame retardants as part of environmental programmes initiated by authorities, agencies or NGOs. The majority of these studies specifically assess alternatives to major brominated flame retardants, such as the major research project ENFIRO which was sponsored by the European Commission (see reference below). These reports sometimes come to different conclusions on the same products, because of different criteria used and because not all authors had the same information available. In various studies the data generated by the manufacturers have not been included.


  • “Flame Retardants in Printed Circuit Boards – publications
  • “Flame Retardants – A Report to the Legislature”, State of Washington Department of Ecology, December 2014, publication n° 14-04-047 – link
  • “Fire safety Performance of Flame Retardants Compared with Toxic and Environmental Hazards”, David Purser, Hartford Environmental Research, UK, 36 pages / “Flame Retardant Additives in Polymers: When do the Fire Safety Benefits Outweigh the Toxicity Risks?”, Vytenis Babrauskas, Fire Science & Technology Inc., USA, Rebecca Fuoco and Arlene Blum, Green Science Policy Institute, USA, 36 pages In: “Polymer Green Flame Retardants”, Ed. C. Papaspyrides and P. Kiliaris, Elsevier ISBN 978-0-444-53808-6, 924 pages, September 2014, 124€ – link
  • Austria Environment Agency “Study for the review of the list of restricted substances under RoHS2”, Ref: : ENV.C.2/ETU/2012/0021 – final report 
  • “An alternatives assessment for the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE)”, United States Environmental Protection Agency – link 
  • ENFIRO project (“Life cycle assessment of environment-compatible flame retardants”) investigated the substitution options for some brominated flame retardants and compared the hazard, exposure, fire and application performances risk and impact assessments were carried out on 14 selected halogen-free flame retardants. ENFIRO final report, published on the European Commission – link
  • PIN flame retardants result in lower toxicity of fire gases, S. Molyneux et al. “The effect of gas phase flame retardants on fire effluent toxicity”, Polymer Degradation and Stability . (Elsevier) 2013 – link
  • iNEMI “Alternative Materials Assessment – Environmentally Sustainable Electronics”
  • “Toxicity of new generation flame retardants to Daphnia magna”, S. Waaijers et al., Science of the Total Environment 463–464, pages 1042–1048, 2013 – link
  • Pure Strategies Inc. for Maine Department of Environmental Protection (2011), “Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame retardants in plastic pallets; A safer alternatives assessment” – link  & Annexes – link
  • Study for the Review of the List of Restricted Substances under RoHS2 – link
  • Electronics industry associations HDPUG (HDP User Group) and iNEMI white paper on halogen free flame retardants in computer cords and cables
  • “Report of the New York State Task Force on Flame Retardant Safety Review”, 2013 – link
  • Acradis EBRC Belgium “Study of flame retardant substances in consumer products in domestic environments”, April 2011, published by the European Commission (DG Consumer Affairs) – link
  • DEFRA Science and Research Projects: Fire Retardant Technologies: safe products with optimised environmental performance – EV0432 (AEA Technology, GnoSys UK, University of Bolton, Oakdene Hollins Ltd.), November 2010 – link
  • Washington State Department of Health (2008): Alternatives to Deca-BDE in Televisions and Computers and Residential Upholstered Furniture. Department of Ecology State Washington.
  • German UBA 2001: Substituting Environmentally Relevant Flame Retardants: Assessment Fundamentals Volume I: Results and summary overview – link
  • Danish EPA: Environmental Project no. 1141, 2007, Deca-BDE and Alternatives in Electrical and Electronic Equipment – link
  • An Overview of Alternatives to Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). March, 2006 Prepared for: The Jennifer Altman Foundation, By Gregory Morose – link
  • European Chemicals Bureau (2007): Review on production processes of decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE) used in polymeric applications in electrical and electronic equipment, and assessment of the availability of potential alternatives to Deca-BDE –  link
  • Marzi T, Beard A (2006): The ecological footprint of flame retardants over their life cycle- A case study on the environmental profile of new phosphorus based flame retardants. Flame Retardants 2006 Conference. Interscience. ISBN 0954121678. pp. 21-30
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