Nine months ahead of the deadline laid down in the EU REACH Regulation on chemicals, BASF has become one of the first European manufacturers to have switched its entire portfolio of polystyrene-based insulation products for the European market to a new, more environmentally friendly flame retardant. The company announced today that its EPS products Styropor and Neopor, as well as its extruded polystyrene XPS, Styrodur, will henceforth be manufactured in Europe with PolyFR, instead of the HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) flame retardant used in the past.
Polystyrene foam insulation contains flame retardants to comply with European fire performance standards for construction products. HBCD has allowed PS foam insulation to meet these standards, but is scheduled to be phased out by 2014 in Japan and by 2015 in the European Union because of its PBT properties (Persistent, Bio-accumulative, Toxic).
PolyFR, which was launched by The Dow Chemical Co. in 2011, is a butadiene styrene brominated copolymer; a stable high molecular weight, non-PBT additive that can be used in XPS and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foams. In 2011, Dow licensed the technology in the foam insulation industry through manufacturing and marketing licenses. The material earned Dow an R&D 100 Award in 2012.