Flame Retardant Alternatives for DecaBDE Partnership – About this Project
On July 30, 2012, through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program, EPA released a draft alternatives assessment report titled "An Alternatives Assessment for the Flame Retardant Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE)" (PDF) (812pp, 10.2MB, About PDF). The public comment period was from July 30 until September 30, 2012. The report remains available as a draft until the final version is posted.
Fifteen sets of formal written public comments were received during the comment period. EPA is developing responses to the comments and where appropriate is making revisions to the report. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended in 1998) requires all Federal Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) developed, maintained, procured, and used after June 21, 2001 to be accessible to federal employees and members of the public with disabilities. The public comments are available in two documents. The majority of comments are available in this 508 compliant document (PDF) (133pp, 1.97MB, About PDF). Those comments that were not submitted in a format suitable for 508 compliance are available in this second document (PDF) (366pp, 25.95MB, About PDF). If an alternate format is required, please contact Emma Lavoie at Lavoie.Emma@epa.gov or (202)564-0951.
Why did DfE conduct an alternatives assessment?
EPA issued an action plan for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) under its enhanced chemical management program. The action plan included this multi-stakeholder alternatives assessment for decaBDE to be conducted by EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Program. This assessment will assist decision makers in choosing safer alternatives to decaBDE. For more information, see DfE's alternatives assessments Web page.
EPA is concerned that certain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment. This concern extends to decaBDE, which breaks down into other PBDE congeners. Various PBDEs have been studied for ecotoxicity in mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. In some cases, current levels of PBDE exposure for wildlife may be at or near adverse effect levels. Human exposure to decaBDE can occur through occupations that manufacture flame retardants or products that contain flame retardants, as well as in recycling operations. Consumer exposure to decaBDE is possible because decaBDE can be released from products in the home and become a component in household dust. In December 2009, the largest commercial producers and suppliers of decaBDE in the United States agreed to phase out use of the chemical by the end of 2013.
DfE convened a multi-stakeholder partnership to explore the human health and environmental profiles of functional and viable alternatives to decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), a chemical of potential concern. Participation of all interest groups was aimed at ensuring that the full range of views was considered from the start of the project and that they were incorporated appropriately into the project objective and methodology. The information generated by the partnership will help inform substitution to safer alternatives. For more information, see chemical alternatives assessments.
Scope of the partnership
This partnership addressed viable alternatives to decaBDE for functional uses that may include electronics, wire and cable, building materials, automotive and aviation parts, storage and distribution products, and textile coatings.
Scope for the US EPA decabromodiphenyl ether alternatives assessment (PDF) (2 pp, 20K, About PDF).
How do I get more information?
If you would like more information, please contact Emma Lavoie (Lavoie.Emma@epa.gov).