October 31, 2005

International notes Brominated flame retardant exempted from Europe's hazardous substance restrictions

WASHINGTON, DC-The European Commission has decided to allow the continued use of Deca-BDE, a brominated flame retardant, in electronics and electronics products. In a decision published in the October 15, 2005 edition of its official journal, the Commission exempted Deca-BDE from its Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. Deca-BDE is used to slow the spread of fires in the plastic components of electric and electronics equipment, as well as in the textiles and transportation industries. The Commission's decision was based on the results of an extensive, ten-year risk assessment, completed in May 2004, which concluded that Deca-BDE did not pose human or environmental risks requiring further regulation. The decision also acknowledged the establishment, by the manufacturers of Deca-BDE, of a voluntary program to reduce emissions to the environment. The program has been making good progress in Europe and is expanding into North America, noted Dr Raymond Dawson, head of the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF), an industry group representing the major manufacturers of brominated flame retardants. The Commission's ruling reinforced an earlier opinion of the European Council of Ministers, most of whom voted in favor of the exemption in September. More information is available on the BSEF Web site, www.bsef.com.

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