Two Manufacturers, Importer to Phase out DecaBDE in 2012

As a result of negotiations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, several companies announced last week that they will undertake a three-year phaseout of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), a persistent and toxic chemical that has been used as a flame retardant in consumer and other products. It has been used in electronics, wire and cable insulation, textiles, automobiles and airplanes, and other applications.

The two U.S. producers of decaBDE, Albemarle Corporation and Chemtura Corporation, and the largest U.S. importer, ICL Industrial Products, Inc., announced their commitments. The companies have committed to end production, importation, and sales of decaBDE for most uses in the United States by Dec. 31, 2012, and to end all uses by the end of 2013.

EPA intends to encourage the other minor importers of decaBDE to join this initiative.

Steve Owens, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

"Though DecaBDE has been used as a flame retardant for years, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long been concerned about its impact on human health and the environment. Studies have shown that decaBDE persists in the environment, potentially causes cancer and may impact brain function. DecaBDE also can degrade to more toxic chemicals that are frequently found in the environment and are hazardous to wildlife.

"Today's announcement by these companies to phase out decaBDE is an appropriate and responsible step to protect human health and the environment."

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