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Jan. 6 – US: Toxic flame retardant to be phased out

From the Los Angeles Times:

The U.S. manufacturers of a toxic flame retardant commonly used in television sets have agreed to phase out production under a deal with federal regulators. The retardant, known as deca, is one of a class of chemical compounds that have been found in California residents at the highest levels in the country, a consequence of widespread exposure linked to the state’s strict flammability standards for furniture.

Deca is a polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), a group of flame-retardant chemicals used in the manufacture of electronic equipment, furniture cushions, upholstery textiles, carpet backings, mattresses, cars, buses, aircraft and construction materials.

John Gustavsen, a spokesman for Chemtura Corp., said his company agreed to the phaseout because it provided a three-year window to develop alternative products. “There have been increasing regulatory restrictions on deca globally and many would result in a ban,” he said. Under the EPA agreement, Chemtura and Albemarle Corp., deca’s two U.S. producers, and ICL Industrial Products Inc., the largest U.S. importer, will end all use of the chemical by late 2013.

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