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Flame Retardant Alternatives for DecaBDE Partnership – About this Project

About this Project | Milestones | Participants

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Final Report

On January 29, 2014, through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program, EPA released the final "An Alternatives Assessment for the Flame Retardant Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE)" (PDF) (901pp, 10.84MB).

Read the executive summary and assessment’s chapters:

Executive summary (PDF) (11pp, 615K)
Chapter 1: Introduction (PDF) (10pp, 305K)
Chapter 2: Products and Materials (PDF) (16pp, 542K)
Chapter 3: Background on Flame Retardants (PDF) (34pp, 1MB)
Chapter 4: Hazard Evaluation of decaBDE and Alternatives (PDF) (Xpp, 10.14MB)
Chapter 5: General Exposure Information and Other Life-cycle Considerations (PDF) (34pp, 915K)
Chapter 6: Considerations for Selecting Flame Retardants (PDF) (20pp, 455K)

Why DfE conducted this alternatives assessment

Under its Existing Chemical Management Program, EPA issued an action plan for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), calling for DfE to convene a multi-stakeholder alternatives assessment for decaBDE to help decision makers choose safer alternatives to decaBDE.

Participation of all interest groups was aimed at ensuring that the full range of views was considered from the start of the project and that they were incorporated appropriately into the project objective and methodology.

Read about DfE's Alternatives Assessments

EPA is concerned that certain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment. This concern extends to decaBDE, which breaks down into other PBDE congeners. Various PBDEs have been studied for ecotoxicity in mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. In some cases, current levels of PBDE exposure for wildlife may be at or near adverse effect levels. Human exposure to decaBDE can occur through occupations that manufacture flame retardants or products that contain flame retardants, as well as in recycling operations. Consumer exposure to decaBDE is possible because decaBDE can be released from products in the home and become a component in household dust.

In December 2009, the largest commercial producers and suppliers of decaBDE in the United States agreed to phase out use of the chemical by the end of 2013.

Scope of the partnership

This partnership addressed viable alternatives to decaBDE for functional uses that may include electronics, wire and cable, building materials, automotive and aviation parts, storage and distribution products, and textile coatings.

Read about the scope of the alternative assessment decabromodiphenyl ether (PDF) (2 pp, 20K)

Development of the assessment

The public comment period on the draft assessment was open from July 30 until September 30, 2012. Fifteen sets of formal written public comments were received.

Regarding the format of the public comments, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended in 1998) requires all Federal Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) developed, maintained, procured, and used after June 21, 2001, to be accessible to federal employees and members of the public with disabilities. Therefore, the public comments are available in two documents:

If an alternate format is required, please contact Emma Lavoie at Lavoie.Emma@epa.gov or (202)564-0951.

Read EPA's response to public comments (PDF) (56pp, 958K).

See the milestones of the assessment’s development.

How do I get more information?

Please contact Emma Lavoie (Lavoie.Emma@epa.gov).

What's New with DfE?

June 12, 2014 – EPA, through DfE, issued:


January 29, 2014 - EPA, through DfE, issued:


January 23, 2014 -- EPA updated DfE’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL), adding 50 chemicals – bringing the number of safer fragrance chemicals to 150, and the total number of safer chemicals to nearly 650.

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