Brominated Flame Retardants

Brominated flame retardants play a critical role in reducing the impact of fires on people, property and the environment allowing longer escape times in case of fire as well as allowing longer response time.

Brominated flame retardants consist of more than 70 different chemical substances with different properties. It is difficult to attribute properties or findings from one small group of substances to an entire family of chemical substances.

Regulatory assessment agencies have concluded that leading brominated flame retardants are safe for human health. A European Commission funded study on the health and environmental impact of flame retardants used in consumer products has confirmed that a first list of flame retardants can be safely used in consumer products. More information on the brominated flame retardants that were analysed here.

All flame retardants have different properties. It is therefore important to look at the scientific assessment of each substance before making general statements. BSEF is committed to improving the scientific knowledge of flame retardants by commissioning independent research.





A new generation of brominated flame retardants: Butadiene Styrene Co-polymer

As HBCD is being phased out globally, manufacturers of thermal insulation foams now have a more sustainable alternative flame retardant.

As an alternative to HBCD an innovative brominated polymeric flame retardant (FR) has been developed to provide effective flame retardant performance in polystyrene foams such as Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS).

These foams, commonly used in building and construction, ensure that homes, offices and public buildings are energy efficient and comfortable, whilst meeting fire safety requirements.

High molecular weight brominated polymer: the efficient, non-hazardous solution

This flame retardant exhibits a superior environmental profile to that of HBCD – being stable, with a high molecular weight. It is also classified as a nonhazardous polymer and as a Polymer of Low Concern(PLC) with officially recognised environment, health & safety characteristics.

Polymeric flame retardants, generally speaking, are inherently sustainable substances. Their high molecular weight makes them unlikely to penetrate through the cell membranes of living tissues. They are therefore not likely to be bioavailable and to bioaccumulate in the food chain.

BSEF Polymeric brochure

A new generation of brominated flame retardants: Butadiene Styrene Co-polymer.

TBBPA in Electrical & Electronic Equipment

Chemical flame retardants are widely used to help meet specific standards for electrical and electronic equipment for particular components. Tetrabromobisphenol A – commonly known as TBBPA – serves a vital role in improving the fire safety of virtually all types of electronics as well as civilian and defence communication equipment. This is increasingly important given the miniaturisation of electronics, where more heat is produced within smaller devices.

TBBPA is the most widely used brominated flame retardant in the world. More than 90% of TBBPA produced is used in the production of FR4 type printed wired boards. In this application, TBBPA is used as a reactive flame retardant. In other words, it ceases to exist as a free chemical in the final board, becoming an integral part of the polymer matrix used to create the material for manufacturing the FR-4 printed circuit boards.

The remaining 10% of TBBPA produced is used in engineered plastics[3] in electrical and electronics products, meaning it is added to a polymer resin.


[3] Engineering plastics exhibit higher performance than standard materials, making them ideal for tough engineering applications. Engineering plastics have superior performance in the areas of heat resistance, chemical resistance, impact resistance, fire retardancy and mechanical strength. Plastics Europe

The Life Cycle of TBBPA in Electrical & Electronic Equipment

TBBPA in Electrical & Electronic Equipment