Through the North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA), under the American Chemistry Council (ACC) , BSEF member companies work closely with the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and regulators (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and other interested policymakers (Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Commerce, etc.), as well as interested national and international regulators and stakeholders. BSEF members also work closely with legislators in all 50 States to ensure access to the best information regarding brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and fire safety, health and environmental issues.
The BSEF member companies voluntarily phased out the production and use of the Penta-BDE and Octa-BDE in 2004, and of Deca-BDE by 2012 in cooperation with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To date, 10 States have adopted legislation banning Penta and Octa (California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington); three of those 10 have also enacted limited bans on Deca-BDE (Maine, Oregon, and Washington), and one state (Vermont) has banned only Deca-BDE.
In Canada, the federal government is continuing to review and develop guidelines for a number of chemical substances. BSEF and its member companies are working closely with the Government of Canada, through Environment Canada, to assist in developing strategies that allow for the safe and effective use and management of flame retardants.
BSEF has also established the Voluntary Emissions Reduction Action programme (VECAP), a global programme to reduce emissions of brominated flame retardants from manufacturing facilities. This programme provides the basis for an Environmental Performance Agreement (EPA) with Environment Canada, to monitor and reduce emissions of flame retardants in industrial settings.
By establishing a universal Code of Good Practice, and by working closely with customers and industry, BSEF ensures that brominated flame retardants are properly handled and used during production and processing., The programme helps to control emissions and to ensure that any waste product is either reused, recycled or disposed of properly. VECAP was launched in Europe in 2004, followed by Canada and the United States in 2006. This and other voluntary stewardship approaches, are a very effective way to monitor and assess brominated flame retardant (BFR) emissions, particularly when combined with existing Pollution Release and Transfer Reporting obligations such as those in Canada.