Industry support is building for a Dow-developed polymeric replacement for HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane).
BASF announced its support for the announcement that Dow Chemical has signed a license agreement with Chemtura for the production of the new brominated polymeric flame retardant.
Chemtura plans to build a production facility if there is sufficient commercial support. Dow plans to finalize agreements with other licensees by the end of this year to ensure sufficient volumes for the global market.
HBCD is used as a flame retardant to ensure that expandable and extruded polystyrene foam insulation (EPS and XPS) meets high fire safety standards. HBCD is listed as subject to authorization under the European Union’s REACH legislation. Unless it is expressly authorized as a flame retardant, its use will be restricted as of 2015 due to environmental concerns. The US EPA—concerned about its effects on human health and aquatic organisms— issued an action plan for HBCD last year.
Dow says its new polymer ensures the same flame retardancy as HBCD while offering a better environmental profile.
“Extensive test series with the new flame retardant on a small-to-medium scale have yielded very promising results,” says Dr. Giorgio Greening, senior vice president of BASF’s global business unit for PS foams.
As soon as sufficient amounts of the polymer are available, BASF plans to test new product formulations on a larger scale. Should these tests and customer trials also prove successful, BASF said it will then start to switch all product lines to the new flame retardant. Several years will be needed to replace HBCD completely.