US EPA - Current risk assessment and consultation for a chlorinated alkylphosphate ester, triphenylphosphate and tetrabromo-bisphenol-A

Chemicals, and thus also flame retardants, are increasingly being examined for potential impact on humans and the environment.

In North America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the U.S. federal government's independent enforcement agency for environmental protection. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), passed by the United States Congress in 1976, gives the EPA the authority to collect information on chemicals and to require testing from manufacturers. This applies to the manufacture, labelling and use of commercial products. TSCA gives the EPA the power to regulate the production and use of chemicals.

In December 2019, EPA prioritized 20 substances that should be subject to risk assessment under TSCA. Among these substances, in addition to compounds that are not used as flame retardants, such as some plasticizers (phthalates), are the flame retardants

  • tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), a substance which is already restricted in Europe as a substance of very high concern under REACH
  • 4,4′-(1-methylethylidene)bis[2, 6-dibromophenol] TBBPA, a very high volume brominated flame retardant most used as a reactive component in epoxy-based printed circuit boards. However, it also finds use additive flame retardant – this use has been suggested for restriction in Europe under RoHS
  • triphenyl phosphate (TPP), a common flame retardant for styrenic thermoplastics

The draft scope documents can be found here. The public consultation on the draft is open and comments can be submitted until 26 May 2020.

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