Alexium’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Bob Brookins said the most widely used commercial chemical flame retardants contain bromine.
“Organo-bromine compounds, while inhibiting the ignition of combustible household items such as furniture padding, plastics, electronics, clothes and the transportation industry, are coming under increasing public criticism and increasing scrutiny of consumer protection agencies,” he said.
- According to industry data, the annual consumption of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) alone is in excess of 40,000 metric tons.
- Brominated flame retardants are lipophilic and bio-accumulative, and several brominated flame retardants have been labeled carcinogens and neurological toxins.
- Some European countries have already banned some or all of these hazardous brominated flame retardants.
- In the United States, legislative efforts in some states and at the federal level are underway to phase out brominated flame retardants.
- California is moving forward with plans to scrap old laws and replace them with new standards that can be met without the use of toxic chemicals.
- Protection agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are making organobromine-based ingredients as part of a high priority review, citing widespread exposure and potential health risks.
- In the United States, reports such as the Chicago Tribune’s “Playing With Fire” investigative series have reignited public concerns about the performance of (brominated) flame retardants and the potential harmful effects on humans and animals.
- Other halogenated FR chemicals, such as chlorinated Tris, are also coming under heavy attack due to potential health concerns in children.
Alexium’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director Stefan Susta said regardless of your position in this debate, the fact is that traditional brominated and other halogen-based FR chemistries are under attack and are facing significant pressure.
“Consumers and industry are looking for a better, cleaner alternative. Since our novel FR chemistry does not contain bromine or any other halogens, we feel very confident that we will find commercial traction, especially for customer and applications that want to play it safe,” he said.
Alexium’s highly effective and durable flame retardant treatments do not contain organo- bromine or any other halogenated compounds. While the Company is already rolling out commercial fabric applications of its novel FR chemistry, it will be focusing on entering new product areas, such as carpet, furnishings, polyurethane foam padding, insulation, plastics, and aerospace interiors.
Alexium is currently finalizing a full licence agreement for FR treatments for nylon with Duro Textiles, one of the United States’ largest finishers and dyers, to address a market opportunity in excess of 3.66 million linear metres (4 million linear yards) of nylon fabric. The main commercial terms for this FR Nylon licence were previously announced and wider licence terms are now being finalized.
“We anticipate carrying the market momentum into our recent discussions with potential licensees in Europe, Australia, and Asia – and will extend future applications beyond the textile industry. The timing for introducing a new, bromine/halogen-free, FR solution is ideal,” Mr Susta said.
Source: Alexium International Group Limited - press release (17/07/2012)