31 May 2007 20:57 [Source: ICIS news]
By Lindsey Blanchfield
Earlier this month, computer and electronic device maker Apple said it plans to eliminate the use of BFRs by the end of 2008.
“Several original-equipment manufacturers [OEMs] have stated their intent to phase out brominated flame retardants by a certain date in the future,” said Laura Ruiz,
“When questioned individually on the rationale behind these announcements, it is clear that they are reacting to pressure from environmental nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) who are engaged in a campaign to target leading-brand OEMs in hopes of banning several classes of chemicals such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), phthalates and most recently, BFRs,” Ruiz said.
“One of the only ways they could phase out brominated flame retardants would be to change plastics,” Gastrock said. “I don’t know what kind of plastics they are using for their housings. But the type of plastic is the main issue.”
Realistically, these targets are difficult to achieve, given the fact that there are limited alternatives in certain key applications such as printed circuit boards, Ruiz said.
“In most cases, these alternatives have not gone through the same amount of environmental testing as BFRs, leaving more questions than answers about their impact on human health and the environment,” Ruiz said. “As OEMs are forced to eliminate proven, effective flame retardants, they will be forced into a situation with fewer and higher cost options for fire safety.”
Look for the full story on flame retardants in the 5 June issue of ICIS Chemical Business Americas.
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