Testing for Fire Retardants
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are used in various household and industrial products such as textiles, packaging, computers and TVs. These substances are not only released into the environment during fire, but also during production and use. They are superficially attached to materials and so leak away easily. They are found in water and air in both volatile and bound form. These persistent substances accumulate in soil and biomass. BFRs spread easily over large distances and throughout the food chain. Research has indicated that certain forms of BFRs and metabolites of BFRs are highly toxic. They can cause hormone-disruption and affect neurological and immune systems.
Several directives have already banned or limited the production and use of some BFRs, such as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive regulating the use of harmful substances in the plastics industry. Some fire retardants are also included as priority substances in the Water Framework Directive.