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Eurofins - reliable analyses for decabromiodiphenyl ether (Deca)

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25 September 2009

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and the commercial PBDE mixture decaBDE are organobromine compounds that are commonly used as an additive in plastics. In the USA there have been recent calls for major supermarkets to stop using plastic storage frames on concerns they may contain PBDE or decaBDE that could leach into the food. These compounds are widely regarded as being toxic and there is growing fears the compounds could leach into food duringthe process known as hydro-cooling. In studies conducted in the USA, results suggest that Deca leaches from pallets into the cooling water and subsequently into the food.

How Eurofins can support you:

The cost of removing all plastic storage frames from the retail environment and supply chain is prohibitive. Eurofins offers acheap, reliable and rapid analysis that can help you identify if any of your plastic storage frames contains PBDE or decaBDE. This will allow you to isolate frames of concern and remove them from your grocery supply chain.

Application field

PBDE and the commercial PBDE mixture decaBDE are organobromine compounds that are commonly used as flame retardants which are designed to decrease the likelihood and intensity of a fire. They are used in household items such as television enclosures, computer casings, upholstery and also in vehicles. Some of the most common plastics to which PBDEs are added are high impact polystyrene, polyurethane foam, wire and cable insulation and electrical and electronic connectors. PBDEs can in some cases constitute up to 30 per cent of the final product.

Worldwide speculation over the safety of PBDEs has seen the Canadian government add the PBDE substance to the schedule one list of toxic substances in December of 2006, however at the time the government failed to also recognize the dangers also associated with its counterpart decaBDE. DecaBDE is the most prevalent commercial PBDE mixture and the banning of this substance is subsequently being campaigned for in Canada.

In Germany, plastics manufacturers and the textile additives industry "declared in 1986 a voluntary phase-out of the use of PBDEs, including Deca-BDE. Although decaBDE was to be phased out of electrical and electronic equipment in the EU by 2006 under the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS), decaBDE use has been exempted from RoHSbeginning in 2005 and continuing for five years. A case in the European Court of Justice against the RoHS exemption has been decided against Deca-BDE and its use must be phased out by July 1, 2008. Sweden, an EU member, banned decaBDE as of 2007. The European Brominated Flame Retardant Industry Panel (EBFRIP), which represents the chemical industry, stated that Sweden's ban on decaBDE "is a serious breach of EU law.” The environment agency of Norway, which is a member of the European Free Trade Association but is not a member of the EU, recommended that decaBDE bebanned from electronic products in 2008.

DecaBDE has been the subject of a ten year evaluation under the EU Risk Assessment procedure which has reviewed over 1100 studies. The Risk Assessment was published on the EU Official Journal in May 2008.

Deca will now go through REACH registration.

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