Introduction from our MD
This newsletter will revolve around one of our favorite topics here at Paxymer: substitution of hazardous chemicals that actually solve the issues. The studies that we have picked up in this newsletter share a clear conclusion – chemical basic principles will prevail, it will be cheaper and better for all stakeholders to solve issues using the best available technology instead of intermediate solutions. Several studies in the last months have shown that by ignoring the basic principles of the chemistry involved intermediate actions and stepwise approaches to substitution has increased the cost for the companies involved instead of the opposite.
The precautionary principle clearly suggests that properties of the materials should be considered before including them. For instance: halogens have persistent characteristics – that means that all solutions containing them will have persistent characteristics. We at Paxymer believe in trying to solve problems in the long term, to the best of our current ability. It seems that researchers and OEMs alike are moving in this direction. The point of the often costly substitution processes and the development of new alternatives is to solve problems rather than postpone them for a couple of years and therefore it makes sense to look at the best available technologies from start. Our conclusion is: it will be cheaper and better for all stakeholders in the long term to solve issues using the best available technology instead of settling for intermediate solutions.
Fire safety in electronics
The need for fire safety in electronics is greater than ever before due to the increasing number of electronic devices in our households. Flame retardants that does not deteriorate burning properties are crucial to achieve this. Apple, Motorola and Sony have already banned brominated flame retardants in their products. They are focusing more on inherently resistant fire resistant materials or safer alternatives instead of the conventional solutions all according to Pinfa’s newsletter in March. We at Paxymer hope that more OEMs will now follow suit.
Source: Pinfa’s newsletter Issue no 39, march 2014
What hides in Seabird Eggs?
Scientists found seabird eggs containing 158 environmental toxins in the Norwegian Sea. Some of which were originally alternatives to now banned substances. Levels of DDT, PCB and Chlorinated paraffin’s are found in gradually lower levels in the environment. Unfortunately the scientist found 7 new brominated FRs in the eggs. These are new substances that were introduced as more environmentally preferable to the old toxic alternatives. The BFRs do not exist naturally in the environment and are exhibit persistent characteristics. Some of the more prominent ones are:
Isomer compounds from TBECH, 1,2-Dibrom-4-(1,2-dibrometyl)cyklohexan
4) PBT, Pentabromtoluene
5) BEHTBP, Bis(2-ethylhexyl)-tetrabromftalat
6) DBDPE, Decabromdifenyletan
7) HBB, Hexabrombenzen
The birds are on an aggregated level of the food chain and their environment around the Norwegian Sea is stable. The report concludes that it is important to investigate the effects of substitution so that the problem is not transferred. This is why we at Paxymer completely eliminates any bromine or persistent substances in our FR solutions.
Source: Ny teknik, article3812221 febr 2014
Do you know what your product actually contains?
Intertek, a lab conducting testing of the chemical composition for products, say that about 30% of the products they test contain unwanted hazardous substances. There is however a selection bias since the companies that tend to test for these substances are the ones that is already aware of the problems and are doing their best to make sure their products are free of them.
The issue is not simple for the legislators to counter, substances that are not classified can be omitted from any reporting for dosages below 5%. Detecting unknown substances is a difficult task and analytical methods for identification are advanced and uncertain. Professor Bergman from Stockholm University states that it should fall on the manufacturers to declare what their materials contain instead of society “playing detectives”. The article identifies one of the main problems with our current chemical legislation. But it also predicts increased responsibilities for producers and importers in coming legislation.
Substitute for the better!
Both of the articles below stress the importance of making sure that any substitution is made for the better. One prevalent principle is the so called “precautionary principle” where substances which are known to be hazardous in one form should if they could be eliminated whenever it is possible – one such example is brominated FRs that can be replaced by more sustainable, non-persistent and completely halogen free options.
Tris phosphate flame retardants in indoor dust could cause asthma and allergies of inhabitants.
A Japanese study shows that you have to monitor the presence of Phosphorous flame retardants in indoor dust. The study notes that presence of the chlorinated- phosphorous flame retardants show prevalence of asthma and allergies. Tri-butyl-phosphate (TNBP) was significantly associated with the prevalence of asthma and allergic rhinitis. TNBP is proved to irritate the skin and eyes of humans and is frequently used in PUR-foam, TPE’s, PVC, synthetic rubber and textiles. The study also showed that the PFR levels in Japan were high compared with values reported for Europe, Asia-Pacific and the USA. TBOEP showed much higher levels in Japan and day care centers in Sweden than any other country examined. TBOEP causes mild irritation to rabbit skin. TCIPP and TDCIPP are carcinogenic in animals and are often used as replacements for pentaBDE.
Source: Indoor Air 2014:24:3-15
California ‘s Safer Consumer Product regulation is moving forward
The California Dep of Toxic Substance Control announced under the Safer Consumer Product Regulations amongst other things that the producer needs to take action to substitute for safer alternatives to harmful chemicals in products marketed in the state. One of the first products to be targeted is: Children’s foam padded sleeping products containing the flame retardant Tris phosphate (TDCPP). Producers of the products will be required to conduct an Alternatives Analysis (AA) to identify alternatives that reduce, eliminate or replace the identified chemical in their product – or pull the product from the Californian market.
Source: Chemsec news March 2014 and blog of Environmental Defense Fund