Issue Date: October 24, 2011
Flame Retardant May Be Banned
The flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), used primarily in polystyrene products, is a step closer to regulation under a global treaty. In mid-October, scientific advisers to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants recommended that HBCD be restricted or banned under the accord, which the U.S. has never ratified. Treaty partners will consider—and are likely to act on—that recommendation when they meet in 2013. The European Union banned production of HBCD earlier this year, and the U.S. EPA is encouraging the development of safer alternatives to this chemical (C&EN, Dec. 6, 2010, page 32). Meanwhile, the treaty’s science advisers are initiating a detailed examination of the persistent compounds chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene for possible regulation under the Stockholm Convention. Chlorinated naphthalenes were used as wood preservatives, additives in paints and engine oils, and in capacitors. Hexachlorobutadiene was once used as a pesticide and as an industrial solvent and is sometimes a by-product in the production of other chlorinated solvents.
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