Flame retardants are a diverse group of chemical substances which are added to plastics, wood or textiles to reduce their propensity to ignite. Since the 1990ies, flame retardants have started to raise environmental concerns, because some brominated flame retardants (e.g. polybrominated diphenylethers, PBDE) were found to form halogenated dioxins and furans in uncontrolled combustion and because the flame retardants were found in various environmental compartments and biota, including humans. This has lead to regulatory restrictions in Europe and elsewhere. A number of flame retardant producers have responded to these concerns by developing more environmentally compatible products based on phosphorus, inorganic and nitrogen chemistries (PIN FRs). This paper will present an overview of flame retardant alternatives and their health and environmental assessments, like the European collaborative research project ENFIRO as well as legislative activities in Europe in the context of REACH and RoHS. US activities like the US-EPA projects on Design for Environment and assessment schemes like Greenscreen, will also be touched upon.
flame retardants, ENFIRO, RoHS, WEEE, GreenScreen, DfE, US-EPA, halogen free, alternatives assessment
Presenter: Adrian Beard, Clariant Corporation
Adrian Beard works for Clariant Corporation, Hurth near Cologne in Germany, as Head of Marketing and Advocacy for the Flame Retardants Business Line of the Business Unit Additives. He is also a senior expert in fire safety and environmental properties of phosphorus based flame retardants. Since 2009-03, he is vice-chairman of the newly formed association for non-halogenated phosphorus, inorganic and nitrogen flame retardants (pinfa). From 2006 to 2008 he was president of the European Flame Retardants Association (EFRA). From 1991 to 1999, before joining Clariant, he was head of the environmental analytical laboratory at the Fraunhofer-Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology in Oberhausen, Germany.