ENFIRO a European Commission-funded project offers a prototypical case study on substitution options for specific brominated flame retardants (BFRs). The project delivers a comprehensive dataset on viability of production and application, environmental safety, and a life cycle assessment of the alternative flame retardants (FRs).
Three FR/product combinations (e.g. metal-based FRs, phosphorous-based and nanoclay-based FRs in printed circuit boards, paints and foam) are studied for:
Environmental and toxicological risks
Viability of industrial implementation, i.e. production of the FR
Application of the FR into products (electronic equipment, specific plastics, paints and textiles)
The information is used for a risk assessment of the alternative FRs. The outcome of that assessment together with socio-economic information is used in a life cycle assessment. The project follows a pragmatic approach, avoiding final recommendations on environment-compatible substitution options that would not be viable for implementation by industry. The ENFIRO approach and the results are useful for similar substitution studies, e.g. in REACH.
An ENFIRO Stakeholder Forum (ESF) with members representing FR users (e.g. formulators and users of FRs, waste(processing) plants but also from other institutes like NGOs and policy-related ones) guide this project.
The project is funded by the EC 7th Framework programme in "Environment (including climate change" (Contract-No. 226563)