BSEF Response to Inaccurate Environmental Health News article on Polymeric Flame Retardants

The International Bromine Council, notes the recent coverage by Environmental Health News relating to a scientific publication concerning a polymeric brominated flame retardant (butadiene   styrene Co-polymer) by Koch et al. entitled “Degradation of the Polymeric Brominated Flame Retardant “Polymeric FR” by Heat and UV Exposure” in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

BSEF notes that the study does not consider the conditions that are relevant to the use of the polymeric FR in the application itself. The polymeric flame retardant technology has been developed to provide effective flame retardant performance in polystyrene foams such as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS).

The study took a pure “polymeric FR” and subjected it to a series of degradation experiments (by heat and UV exposure). The study then looked for indications of degradation via some indicators (total bromine, total organic carbon) and also attempted to identify potential degradation products.

“In our view, the article by “Environmental Health News” (United States) from 9 January 2019, covering this publication, significantly over-interprets the study results and draws conclusions that are not justified by the study findings. ” said Dr Kevin Bradley, BSEF Secretary General. He further noted that “the aim of the study was not to simulate realistic conditions but to conduct fundamental research. Therefore its conclusions should be treated with caution”

Under the most realistic scenario – heat exposure – the authors found very little degradation. Of the 7 degradation products reported, only 1 was brominated.



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