ECHA Opens Consultation on HBCDD Extension

21.05.2014 -

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the body that administers REACH, has opened a public consultation on proposed continued use of the flame retardant chemical hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) in certain styrenic foam building applications following the 2015 phase-out of the product now classified as a persistent organic pollutant (POP).

The consultation period will extend until July 9.

ECHA is reacting to an application filed in February of this year by 13 producers or users of HBCDD, including Ineos, StyroChem, Synthomer and Versalis.

In contrast, several of the styrenics industry's leading players, have announced plans to convert their entire production to the more environmentally friendly PolyFR flame retardant before the 2015 deadline.

The leading player, BASF, said it has converted production of its Styrodur expandable polystyrene (XPS) insulation panels at Tudela / Spain to use PolyFR, which it said "has a superior environmental profile while offering the same flame retardancy."

By the end of this year, the German group plans to have switched all of its plants to the new products. Other producers, including Dow Chemical and some European companies seeking to have peripheral HBCDD applications extended, are also in the process of switching to PolyFR.