Flame Retardants Go Under the Microscope
Full risk assessments will be conducted on four common flame retardants, with the results shedding light on thefor which there is not yet sufficient data to carry out individual risk assessments:
•—Hexabromocyclododecane is used in virtually all polystyrene insulation manufactured in the U.S. The chemical is being phased out in Europe.
• TCEP—Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate is found in furniture foam, textiles, and other interior products.
• TBB—2-Ethylhexyl tetrabromobenzoate may be an additive in PVC, wire insulation, furniture foam, and various adhesives.
• TBPH—Bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate is used in the same products in which TBB is found.
The agency hopes that evaluating groups of related chemicals (in this case, cyclic aliphatic bromides, chlorinatedphosphate esters, and phthalates) will avoid the replacement of known hazards with . Additional flame retardants will be analyzed for environmental persistence and as well as to determine the mechanisms by which they break down and the behavior of their degradation products.
If the risk assessments, which will be available to the public, indicate significant risk, EPA will pursue risk reduction. EPA hasat the agency’s limited abilities under TSCA, saying the legislation does not provide sufficient authority—or funds—to “take risk management actions when chemicals do not meet the safety standard.”
Published April 5, 2013