EPA identifies two viable alternatives to the flame retardant chemical hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in a Design for the Environment (DfE) Alternatives Assessment draft report that was released last week. The agency anticipates that one of the alternatives, a butadiene styrene brominated copolymer, is safer than HBCD, a chemical that EPA describes as “most commonly used in expanded polystyrene foam and extruded polystyrene foam produced for the building and construction industry to meet fire safety standards.” The draft report also includes exposure information for HBCD as well as a list of substances that are not currently expected to be viable alternatives for the chemical. According to EPA, HBCD has persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic characteristics.
In March, EPA announced that it would begin risk assessments on 23 chemicals in 2013, with a special focus on widely used flame retardants. EPA identified 20 flame retardant chemicals and planned to conduct full risk assessments for four of those: TBB, TBPH, TCEP, and HBCD. The agency anticipates making the draft risk assessments available for public comment and peer review next year.
The draft report for HBCD is available on EPA’s website. Read more in EPA’s press release.