Flame Retardants in Plastics

A new ASTM International standard will help determine whether certain flame retardants which reduce the flammability of plastics used in consumer products, construction materials, cars, and more are retained within the plastic. 

According to Marcelo Hirschler of GBH International, brominated flame retardants are helpful in stopping combustible plastics from igniting when exposed to a fire threat. They also decrease the fire intensity if one occurs, he adds.

“The new standard has tremendous importance for product designers, regulators, and supply chains to compare and chose safe, effective, and sustainable brominated flame retardants,” says Hirschler, a member of ASTM International’s plastics committee (D20), which developed the new standard (soon to be published as D8280). 

“The key issue is that when there is no ignition, there is no fire,” says Hirschler. “The new standard will be a fundamental tool for assessing the potential exposure to brominated flame retardants during a product’s life cycle. It will help product designers quantify, compare, and communicate the sustainability of their choice of flame retardants.”

Hirschler notes that, by quantifying potential emissions from flame retardants and flame retarded products, the new standard directly relates to three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: #3 on good health and well-being; #11 on sustainable cities and communities; and #12 on responsible production and consumption.

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member of ASTM. The next meeting of the plastics committee is March 29 - April 1, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

To purchase standards, contact ASTM International customer relations (tel +1.877.909.ASTM; sales@astm.org).

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