Styrofoam’s Chemistry Becoming Less Hazardous, Gradually
The world’s leading manufacturer of extruded polystyrene will phase out a toxic flame retardant around 2017 and problematic blowing agents by 2020.
August 3, 2015
Dow Chemical—manufacturer of Styrofoam, the dominant brand of extruded polystyrene (XPS)—is working to clean up this popular foam insulation on two fronts:
replacing the brominated flame retardant HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) with a less-toxic alternative
replacing the high-global-warming-potential hydrofluorocarbon blowing agent HFC-134a with a fourth-generation chemical that has almost no contribution to global warming
A safer flame retardant
According to Greg Bergtold, business advocacy director at Dow Chemical, the company is moving forward with the phaseout of HBCD, which is listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.