Companies phase out flame retardant

Chemical companies Albemarle, Chemtura and ICL just announced today that they will phase out their flame retardant Deca-BDE even though it has been deemed safe for years by scientific studies

The companies have committed to end production, importation, and sales of deca BDE for most uses in the United States by December 31, 2012, and to end all uses by the end of 2013.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has long been concerned about its impact on human health and the environment and asked the three producers to voluntantarily phase out the chemical.

Albemarle said there are other “environmentally sound and safe” substitutes for the flame retardant that are available today. The company notes its newly launched polymer-based flame retardant technology GreenArmor, which is said to be a recyclable and eco-friendly alternative to decabrom technology.

“Our investment in this new fire safety technology demonstrates Albemarle’s commitment to constantly seek higher-performing, sustainable alternatives to existing fire safety products,” said Tony Parnell, vice president of the company’s polymer solutions division.

GreenArmorâ„¢ will be commercially available in late 2010 under the company’s new Earthwise line of eco-friendly chemicals. The company said it is developing a portfolio of other sustainable fire safety and chemical solutions for diverse industries.

Chemtura noted on its letter to the EPA that it will complete a phase-out of decaBDE production by the end of 2012 except for certain uses, which will be discontinued by the end of 2013. The phase-out will focus first on consumer applications such as electronics and home furnishings followed by other applications.

The company promised not to stockpile inventories for future sale.

ICL said it will focus first on imports and sales for electrical and electronic equipment, which they will discontinue by December 31, 2010. Imports and sale to other markets will be phase out by the end of 2012.

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