Flame Retardant Alternatives for DecaBDE Partnership – About this Project
You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.
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 assessmentUnder 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:
- The majority of comments are available in this 508 compliant document (PDF) (133pp, 1.97MB).
- Comments that were not submitted in a format suitable for 508 compliance are available in this second document (PDF) (366pp, 25.95MB).
Read EPA's response to public comments (PDF) (56pp, 958K).
How do I get more information?
What's New with DfE?
June 12, 2014 – EPA, through DfE, issued:
- Final DfE Alternatives Assessment for Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) (PDF) (230pp, 1.76MB) that evaluates and compares potential hazards associated with HBCD and three alternatives. Read more.
- Draft update of a previous alternative assessment on flame retardants used in flexible polyurethane foam (PDF) (840pp, 8.05MB), which will be available for public review and comment until August 11, 2014. Please submit comments to Docket No. EPA-HQ-2014-0389 via www.regulations.gov. Read more.
- Q. & A. Consumer Fact Sheet on Flame Retardants
January 29, 2014 - EPA, through DfE, issued:
- Final Flame Retardant Alternatives Assessment for Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE) (PDF) (901pp, 10.84MB) that evaluates and compares potential hazards associated with decaBDE and 29 alternatives. Read more.
- Final Alternatives Assessment for Bisphenol A (BPA) in Thermal Paper (PDF) (519pp, 3.72MB)that evaluates and compares potential hazards associated with BPA in thermal paper and 19 alternatives. Read more.
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.