BASF opposes the authorization of a prolonged use of the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). The use of HBCD – a flame retardant primarily used for polystyrene-based insulating foams and textiles – will be banned as of August 21, 2015 under the European Union’s REACH chemicals legislation unless it is expressly authorized for an applicant. Furthermore, HBCD is listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The European Chemicals Agency ( ECHA) has launched a public consultation on the application by a consortium that is requesting to continue using HBCD. BASF will argue that authorization is unnecessary. “A safer and better alternative to HBCD is available and already successfully introduced,” said Giorgio Greening, Senior Vice President of BASF’s global business unit for polystyrene foams. “There is therefore no good reason to deviate from the original deadline for replacing HBCD.”
Over the past years, a new polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR) with a superior environmental profile has been developed, tested and approved as an alternative to HBCD. “PolyFR has been positively tested as a replacement for HBCD in polystyrene insulating foams, and sufficient capacities are available to meet European and global demand. A quick transition to PolyFR is therefore both possible and in the best interests of the industry,” said Greening. HBCD has served the industry well for decades but now there is a better alternative.”