What is Bromine ?

Bromine’s chemical symbol is Br and is part of the halogen group of the periodic table. The bromine substance Br2 is a reddish-brown liquid and is never naturally found in its elemental form but rather in inorganic compounds, also known as bromides, and in natural organo-bromine compounds. These are naturally found in soils, salts, air and seawater.

Since bromine was discovered in 1826, bromine compounds have been used in fields such as water treatment, reduction of mercury emissions, fire safety, energy storage and generation, production of pharmaceuticals and enhanced quality rubber.

BFRs contain many different types of chemicals, with widely differing molecular structures, physicochemical, toxicological and ecotoxicological properties and chemistries (additives, reactive, polymeric). They also differ from a function/technical perspective depending on the intended material or product application.

The 28th chemical element essential for human life

There are 92 naturally occurring chemical elements on earth. 28 of them are essential for human life.

In 2014, Prof Billy Hudson of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and his team of researchers added bromine as the 28th chemical element to the list.[1]

Their study, published in the journal Cell, revealed that bromine is essential for tissue development in all animals, from primitive sea creatures to humans.

[1] http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(14)00598-4

“Without bromine, there are no animals. That’s the discovery.”

Billy Hudson, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Where is it used?

Around 500,000 tons of bromine are estimated to be produced annually on a worldwide basis. The largest single use of bromine is in fire safety. Brominated flame retardants prevent burning and slow down materials’ ignition, making materials such as furniture and plastics less combustible. Since bromine was discovered, bromine compounds have also been used for water treatment, reduction of mercury emissions, oil drilling, crop protection, energy storage and generation, production of pharmaceuticals, catalyst for plastics (PTA) and rubber.

Where does it come from?

Today, bromine is extracted from salt lakes where the element is especially abundant, such as the Dead Sea bordering Jordan and Israel.

Bromine The element


Watch this video to find out how bromine is being used in many key applications such as for the treatment of water, fire safety, the reduction of mercury emissions, energy storage and energy generation.


The BBC World Service has broadcasted a special feature on bromine as part of its Business Daily series.