EPA Negotiates Phase-Out Date For Toxic Flame Retardant

The two US producers of a toxic flame retardant, announced commitments to phase out production of the chemical used in electronics, wire and cable insulation, textiles, automobiles and airplanes, and other applications.

Following negotiations with EPA, Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) and Chemtura Corporation (NYSE: CEM), and the largest U.S. importer, ICL Industrial Products, Inc. have committed to end production, importation, and sales of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE).

The agreement will go into effect for "most uses in the United States" by December 31, 2012, and all uses by the end of 2013, EPA said in a release.

Company commitment letters and annual progress reports will be posted on the EPA website at the link below.

Steve Owens, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, issued the following statement in response to the announcement:

“Though DecaBDE has been used as a flame retardant for years, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long been concerned about its impact on human health and the environment. Studies have shown that decaBDE persists in the environment, potentially causes cancer and may impact brain function. DecaBDE also can degrade to more toxic chemicals that are frequently found in the environment and are hazardous to wildlife."

EPA said it intends to encourage the other minor importers of decaBDE to join this initiative.

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