Deca-BDE Policies in Europe

 

Xmultiple's Engineering Department


The term decaBDE alone refers to only decabromodiphenyl ether, the single "fully brominated" PBDE. DecaBDE is a flame retardant. The chemical "is always used in conjunction with antimony trioxide" in polymers, mainly in "high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which is used in the television industry for cabinet backs." DecaBDE is also used for "polypropylene drapery and upholstery fabric" by means of backcoating and may also be used in some synthetic carpets. In the electronics industry some plastics can contain decaBDE elements.

In 2003, the European Union passed into law the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, which eliminates the use of certain toxic chemicals in electronics, including deca-BDE (bromodiphenyl ether), beginning in July 2006. Under the RoHS Directive, the European Commission has the authority to issue an exemption for four years if elimination is ¡§technically or scientifically impracticable¡¨ or if the environmental health impacts of alternatives outweigh the impacts of deca-BDE. Yet the Commission has proven neither of these facts and this was the basis of legal challenges by both the European Parliament and Denmark in January 2006. In fact, research by the Danish and German governments, the IFP Research group in Sweden, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the U.S., have all shown that alternatives are widely available to deca-BDE. Many electronics firms have eliminated or committed to eliminating deca-BDE in all their products.

 

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