Relevant for: Electrical & electronics, Hardlines, Softlines, Toys & children's products
What is it?
Flame retardants are man-made organic compounds which can be added to finished products. The function of these substances is to inhibit, suppress or delay the production of flames. Hence, it helps to inhibit the spread of fire.
Flame retardants can be incorporated or physical bounded with materials. There are two common types of restricted flame retardants.
- Halogenated flame retardants refer to organic compounds that the carbon is bonded with halogens e.g. bromine and chlorine. For example, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) e.g. pentaBDE, octaBDE, decaBDE.
- Organophosphorus compounds refer to organic compounds containing phosphorus such as tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (TRIS), Bis (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate, tris(1-aziridinyl)-phosphate oxide (TEPA).
Potential health hazard:
Flame retardants are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment and are suspected of causing neurobehavioral disorders and endocrine disruption. Some of the flame retardants are used in upholstery furniture. These substances are not chemically bound to the materials e.g. foam. These can be found in household dust and exposed to the human via inhalation. In particular, children are more vulnerable to the harmful effect of these toxic chemicals.
Commonly found in:
Flame retardants can be used in plastics, textiles in clothing and upholstered furniture and electrical/electronic appliances. Some brominated flame retardants such as HBCDD, can be used in thermal insulation in the building.
Related legislation (non-exhaustive):
- European Union:
- REACH Regulation Annex XVII, entries 4, 7, 8, 45 and 67
- POPs Regulation Annex I
- Japan: Act on Control of Household Products Containing Harmful Substances (JIS law 112)
- CPSC’s ban on TRIS in children’s wear
- Many USA states e.g Washington, Oregon and Minnesota ban penta, octa and deca-BDE, TCEP, TDCPP in consumer products
Maximum limit (non-exhaustive):
- European Union:
- REACH - TRIS, TEPA, PBB: not used; octaBDE: 0.1% by weight; decaBDE: 0.1% by weight (this will apply from 2 March 2019)
- POPs - pentaBDE: 0.001% by weight, SCCPs: 0.15%, HBCDD: 0.01% by weight
- JIS law 112 - TRIS and TEPA: not used
- CPSC - TRIS: not used
- Various States law - penta, octa and deca-BDE, TCEP, TDCPP: 0.1% by weight (each)
The use of inherently flame resistant materials e.g. polyester, leather or use alternative substances e.g. polymers with phosphates to replace restricted flame retardants.
How can TÜV SÜD help?
TÜV SÜD has a dedicated technical solutions team to support you with root cause analysis, problem identification, suggestions for improvement and failure minimisation.
- Training and seminar on understanding the RSL (Restricted Substance List) and MRSL (Manufacturing Restricted Substance List)
- Testing services on raw materials and final products
- Being part of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) programme, we review the entire value chain of footwear and textiles