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HBCDD consortium submits REACH authorisation dossier to ECHA

14/
March 2014

Eight raw material manufacturers of expanded polystyrene submit joint dossier under the authorisation process.

Brussels, March 14, 2014 - Expanded polystyrene (EPS) raw material manufacturers, participating in the hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) authorisation consortium successfully submitted an application for authorisation to the European Chemicals Agency by the 21 February deadline. Project managed by ReachCentrum with the technical support of PFA Ltd and eftec, submission occurred to obtain an extension of the use of HBCDD as a flame retardant in EPS insulation in the EU. 

The consortium aim is to obtain an authorisation for the continued safe use of HBCDD in EPS, until a valid alternative is commercially available in adequate quantities, together with the necessary technical and certification approvals. Members want to ensure that their customers and related end users have a continued steady supply for use of flame retarded EPS for building insulation material. The EPS raw material producers are committed to changing from HBCDD to an alternative as soon as possible, within legal deadlines and satisfying technical approvals. 

Sufficient supply of building insulation materials is crucial for the European Union to achieve its goals of energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint by appropriate insulation of new buildings and by renovation of existing buildings. EPS has been used broadly for this application for decades and is present in the vast majority of Europe’s buildings. HBCDD is still the main, commercially available flame retardant for EPS. Flame retardant suppliers have started production of commercial quantities of alternative materials and the first applications in insulation products are being made available in the EU during 2014. Not all announced capacity for the HBCDD alternatives is currently on stream, however, meaning delays in the production development and technical approvals cannot be excluded. Members of the consortium are concerned that fully approved alternative flame retardants may not be available in sufficient commercial quantities before August 2015. Members are asking the EU for additional time to allow for a smooth market transition from HBCDD.

Background: HBCDD in buildings

One of the uses of HBCDD is as a flame retardant in EPS in buildings. HBCDD (CAS# 25637-99-4) is placed on Annex XIV of REACH, indicating that after the sunset date (21 August 2015, Official Journal of the European Union L49/52, dated 24.2.2011) the use of HBCDD in any application is prohibited unless the use in an application is granted. The application for authorisation of HBCDD in a specific use had to be submitted to ECHA at the latest by February 21, 2014.

Consortium members

The eight submitting members of the consortium, set up at the beginning of 2013, are: Ineos Styrenics, Monotez S.A., StyroChem Finland Oy, Sunpor Kunststoff GmbH Austria, Synbra Technology B.V., Synthos S.A, Unipol Holland B.V., Versalis S.p.A. These companies submitted jointly 13 applications for two uses.

Useful link: REACH authorisation: HBCDD consortium now set up - 9 January 2013

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