BRUSSELS, Belgium (Feb. 5)—The European Commission will ban a flame retardant used predominantly in flexible polyurethane foam for furniture and upholstery applications, starting July 1, 2003, citing environmental and health hazard risks. The ban is on pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE). "PentaBDE poses a risk to the environment, is bioaccumulating and has been found in breast milk in increasing concentrations," according to a Jan. 30 EC statement. The proposals now go to the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for final adoption. The EC also is carrying out risk assessments on two other polybrominated diphenyl ethers flame retardants—decabromodiphenyl ether and octabromodiphenyl ether.