Relevant for: Food, health & beauty, Hardlines, Softlines, Toys & children’s products
On 17 September 2014, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launched the 1st public consultation on the proposal to restrict on bis(pentabromophenyl) ether, decaBDE, under Annex XVII of REACH.
All interested parties can comment on the proposal using the ECHA website until the end of the consultation period on 17 March 2015, but comments that are received by 17 November 2014 will assist in the detailed discussion by the ECHA committees on the proposal in late November 2014.
Table 1. A summary of the proposed restriction on decaBDE
(1) Used as a flame retardant in plastic, textile articles, specifically in domestic and commercial furniture and in the transport, construction and mining sector.
(2) Used in adhesive/ sealants;
(3) Used in coatings and inks.
18 months after the date of entry into force
< 0.1% by weight
Articles or parts of the articles
< 0.1% by weight
(1) Articles for the second hand market that were in use in the EU before the date of entry into force;
(2) Electrical and electronic equipment within the scope of the RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU;
(3) Articles used in the aviation sector.
What is decaBDE?
DecaBDE belongs to the poly-brominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) family of flame retardants. In the EU, it is commonly used in domestic and commercial furniture as well as in the transport, construction and mining sector. For domestic and commercial furnishings and fittings, decaBDE can be found in draperies and in foams, fillings and backcoats of furniture.
As decaBDE is an environmentally hazardous substance with persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic properties, it was identified as a Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and included in the REACH Candidate List in December 2012.
The current restriction aims to effectively reduce the environmental exposure to decaBDE in the EU.
Are there other EU regulations governing decaBDE?
Yes, decaBDE is restricted under the RoHS Directive (2011/65/EC) as a PBDE, hence the current proposal for its restriction under REACH excludes electrical and electronic equipment covered by the RoHS Directive.
DecaBDE is also known to undergo long-range transport (meaning it circulates around the globe), and the combination of this and the persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic properties means it is a candidate for a group of chemical substances called persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife.
In May 2013, Norway submitted a proposal to add decaBDE to the Stockholm Convention for Persistent Organic Pollutants. If added to the Convention, decaBDE will then be restricted under the EU’s Regulation (EC) 850/2004 on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), as the European Union is a member country of the Convention and is therefore obliged to implement its measures across the EU.