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DecaBDE Resources

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DecaBDE has been used for many years as a flame retardant in such products as household electronics, wire and cable insulation, textiles, automobiles and airplanes, and other applications.

Numerous studies have indicated that there are no health risks associated with the use or recycling of decaBDE, according to a fact sheet issued by BSEF, the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum. Its members include the major decaBDE suppliers.

Information from the EU indicate that while there is minimal risk from decaBDE exposure, it none the less was phased out for European use in 2008.

In the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long been concerned that decaBDE may persist in the environment, potentially causing cancer and impacting brain function. It may also degrade to more toxic chemicals that are frequently found in the environment and are hazardous to wildlife.

On December 16, 2009, the Deca-bromine Control and Elimination Act was introduced by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, calling for a phaseout of decaBDE by 2013 and require companies to use safer alternatives.

Later in December 2009, the two U.S. producers of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), Albemarle Corporation and Chemtura Corporation, and the largest U.S. importer, ICL Industrial Products, Inc., collectively announced after negotiation with EPA, commitments to phase out decaBDE in the United States This production, importation, and sales of decaBDE in the United States is scheduled to end by December 31, 2012, and all use by the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, decaBDE continues to be recycled in the U.S. Appropriate safety precautions should be employed when involved in the processing, including recycling of materials containing decaBDE, as outlined by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in a fact sheet about safe handling of decaBDE.

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