Vol. 918 | 30 Jun 2016

On March 2, 2016, The European Commission published Regulation (EU) 2016/293[1] to amend Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 850/2004[2] on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) regarding hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD). According to the new Regulation, the production, placing on the market and use of HBCDD, whether on its own, in preparations or as constituents of articles, shall be prohibited from March 22, 2016.

HBCDD is solely used as an additive flame retardant in consumer products in four principal product types:

1. Flame retardant systems that are used in textile applications to comply with British standards and German DIN flame retardant standards. HBCDD is formulated to polymer-based dispersions (e.g., acrylic or latex) of variable viscosity in the polymer industry. The dispersions are then processed in the textile finishing industry. The textiles with the back-coating containing HBCDD are mainly used for:

  • flat and pile upholstered furniture (residential and commercial furniture)
  • upholstery seating in transportation
  • draperies and wall coverings
  • bed mattress ticking
  • interior textiles, e.g., roller blinds
  • automobile interior textiles and car cushions

2. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid cellular plastic, which is used in a multitude of applications such as packaging.

HBCDD-containing EPS is mainly used for the following purposes:

  • insulation panels/boards in the construction sector
  • automobile cushions for children to meet the needs of the FMVSS 302 standard
  • rigid packaging material for fragile equipment 
  • packaging material such as “chips” and shaped EPS-boards
  • in props for theatre and film, and in exhibitions

3. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is a plastic foam based on polystyrene that is formed by adding gas during extrusion.

HBCDD-containing XPS is mainly used for the following purposes:

  • Cold bridge insulation
  • Sandwich Panels and Laminates
  • Cavity Insulation
  • Floors
  • Basement Walls and Foundations
  • Inverted Roofs
  • Ceilings

4. Most flame-retarded High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) products are used in electrical and electronic appliances. For example:

  • audio visual equipment cabinets (video and stereo equipment)
  • distribution boxes for electrical lines in the construction sector
  • refrigerator lining

However, there are some exemptions highlighted as follows:
1. The prohibition shall not apply in case of HBCDD occurring as an unintentional trace contaminant (concentrations ≤ 100mg/kg) in substances, preparations, articles or as constituents of the flame-retarded parts of articles.
2. Articles that contain HBCDD as a constituent and were already in use before or on March 22, 2016, may continue to be used and further placed on the market.

HBCDD requirement in Regulation (EU) 2016/293 is summarized as follows:


For additional information please contact:

Rex Yeung
Business Development Manager
(852) 2173-8630

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