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Greenwashing and Whitewashing in Cologne

Blog post   •   Dec 17, 2013 09:03 GMT

We spent two intensive days at this year's Flame Retardants in Plastics Conference in Cologne that were filled with interesting lectures, presentations, and discussions at our exhibition stand.  As always, it was very pleasant and enjoyable to meet with professionals working in the same industry, research scientists, and competitors, but also even current and future customers and partners.

On the technical and scientific level, discussions focused on synergistic systems, that is to say flame retardants that complement one another or become effective with different additives. This is especially true for charring (intumescent) systems such as Apyrum.

Moreover, it is always entertaining (read alarming) when producers of the ”older generation” of environmentally-dangerous flame retardants that are based on bromine and chlorine compounds describe themselves as “green” and, from a natural life cycle perspective, even sustainable. They trudge along as if nothing has happened, redesign their products, and then give them new names that have an association with the environment or nature. In other words, they are persistent in their attempts to highlight how environmentally friendly their products are.  Leading research from, among others, the UN Stockholm Convention indicates exactly the opposite (link here and here).  This is both shocking and directly misleading.

I hope that many from the branch - customers but even the general public -  take notice of this and put harder demands on manufacturers. The insight that I have taken home with me from this year's exhibition is the enormous amount of opposition that exists within the world of research against bromide and chlorine compounds, as well as against the new polymerised bromide compounds which the manufacturers now want to launch as a “green” alternative.

/Fredrik Westin

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