In an article published on March 7, 2018, news provider Chemical Watch informed about a new study by the Norwegian Environment Agency on flame retardants in plastic waste intended to be recycled. The study was conducted by Swedish research group Swerea IVF who collected post-consumer plastics (mainly from waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs)) intended to be recycled and tested them for content of total bromine, commercial decabromodiphenyl ether (c-decaBDE), other polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), as well as other selected brominated flame retardants.
Norway has banned the production, use, and placing on the market of c-decaBDE in 2008 (exceptions for means of transportation). Decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209, CAS 1163-19-5), the main constituent of c-decaBDE, is restricted under REACH (starting March 2, 2019, with exceptions for aircrafts) due to its persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) properties.
The study found that post-consumer plastics that underwent state-of-the-art sorting and separation in recycling facilities contained no or low levels of c-decaBDE (in this study < 1000 ppm). Some samples contained low levels of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD, CAS 3194-55-6), BDE-209, and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA, CAS 79-94-7). All commercial samples contained decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE, CAS 84852-53-9) at maximum 400 ppm.
Brominated flame retardants, such as HBCD, BDE-209, TBBPA, and DBDPE, have previously been detected in food contact materials (FCMs) made from recycled plastics originating from WEEE (FPF reported). Scientists have thus proposed a procedure for detection of contaminants from WEEE in recycled plastics FCMs (FPF reported).
Chemical Watch (March 7, 2018). “Norwegian study examines flame retardants in plastic waste.”
Martin Strååt and Camilla Nilsson (February 23, 2018). “Decabromodiphenyl ether and other flame retardants in plastic waste destined for recycling.” Swerea IVF Project Report M-973|2018 (pdf)