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Certain Brominated Flame Retardants - Polybrominated Diphenylethers, Polybrominated Biphenyls, Hexabromo Cyclododecane
Responsible organisation
2008 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Brominated flame retardants are a diverse group of chemicals, whose common points are that they all contain bromine and are all use to retard the combustibility of commercial goods. Two substances – decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaDBE) and Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBP-A; this will be the subject of a separate Background Document) – account for about 50% of world use of brominated flame retardants. Two other polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PolyBDE) – octabromodiphenyl ether (OctaDBE) and pentabromodiphenyl ether (PentaDBE) – are used commercially, but in much smaller quantities than DecaBDE. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) is also used in large volumes. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) have also been used, but production was stopped in September 2000. Some PolyBDE are toxic, especially those with smaller molecules. PentaDBE may disrupt the oestrogenic system. PBB have similar effects to polychlorinated biphenyls, and may also produce hypothyroidism. Some of these chemicals are bioaccumulated. Brominated flame retardants were given priority in the 1992 OSPAR Action Plan, and therefore included in 1998 in the List of Chemicals for Priority Action. The quantities of PolyBDE used in the EU in 1994 were estimated as: DecaBDE (8 210 tonnes) as a general-purpose flame retardant, especially in polymers, polypropylene fabric and other textiles (other than clothing fabrics); OctaBDE (2 550 tonnes) in acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene plastics (often used for casings of electrical and electronic equipment), nylon and other plastics and in adhesives and coatings; PentaBDE (125 tonnes) mainly in flexible polyurethane foam for furniture, as well as epoxy and phenolic resins, some polyesters and textiles. About 9 200 tonnes of HBCDD was used in the EU in 1999, 85% of it in polystyrene. Since the products containing these chemicals are widely dispersed, their possible release from waste disposal routes may be of concern, together with their potential role in producing dioxins and furans during waste incineration. The degradation of DecaBDE to the more toxic and bioaccumulative lower levels of PolyBDE is also of concern. The overwhelming majority of samples of marine biota have not shown detectable quantities of DecaBDE; however, OctaBDE has been found in fish and molluscs (up to 325μg/kg wet weight) and PentaBDE has been found in fish and marine mammals (up to 7 700μg/kg in white-beaked dolphins). All these chemicals have been found in river or marine sediments. Action so far has been mainly through voluntary commitments by industry within the framework of the OECD. The risk assessment for PentaBDE under the EC existing substances regulation has concluded that risk reduction measures are needed. The PolyBDEs are proposed to be included as priority hazardous substances in the list of priority substances under the EC Water Framework Directive. The action recommended is: to support the inclusion of PBB in the draft EC Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment; to support early EC harmonised restrictions on PentaBDE; to await the completion of the EC risk assessment of OctaBDE, DecaBDE and HBCDD and seek appropriate risk-reduction strategies in the light of it; to support appropriate provision on PolyBDE in the draft EC Directives on Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment and on Restrictions on Certain Hazardous Substances in Electric and Electronic Equipment; to develop an OSPAR monitoring strategy for these chemicals; to review by OSPAR in 2003 of the need for further OSPAR measures to supplement the eventual EC measures; and to ask other relevant international forums to take account of the background document. A monitoring strategy for Certain Brominated Flame Retardants has been added to this background document.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OSPAR Commission , 2008.
Keyword [en]
farming, oceans, environment, inlandWaters
Keyword [sv]
toxic, waste disposal, PentaDBE, DecaDBE, Brominated Flame Retardants, marine biota, TBBP-A, PolyBDE, HBCDD, bioaccumulated, monitoring strategy, Sötvatten, OctaDBE, risk reduction, Marin miljö, PBB
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:naturvardsverket:diva-502Local ID: E23F7DA7-ABA0-4AB8-8AD6-AD1D0A1475CEISBN: 0 946956 70 7OAI: diva2:658067
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21

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