WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it has identified safer alternatives to the flame retardants commonly used in flexible polyurethane foam and polystyrene building insulation.
On June 12, the agency issued a final report on alternatives to the flame retardant HBCD, which is used in polystyrene insulation, as well as an 840-page updated draft report on pentaBDE, which is used in flexible foam.
Both reports were researched and issued through the EPA's Design for the Environment Alternatives Assessment Program, the agency said.
The EPA is recommending butadiene styrene brominated copolymer as an alternative to HBCD. The copolymer already is commercially produced in the U.S., the agency said.
As a replacement to pentaBDE, the EPA has identified oligometric phosphonate polyol. When finalized, the pentaBDE report will help the flexible foam industry to choose safer flame retardants to meet consumer product flammability standards, the agency said.
The draft report on pentaBDE is a followup to an alternatives assessment, “Environmental Profiles of Chemical Flame Retardant Alternatives for Low-Density Polyurethane Foam,” which first appeared in 2005, according to the EPA. That report discussed the health and environmental profiles of various pentaBDE alternatives that did not appear to pose the same risks at pentaBDE, the agency said.
Robert Luedeka, executive director of the Polyurethane Foam Association, could not be reached for comment on the draft report.