Developed and launched by Polymer Compounders Limited (PCL) this year, the Notoxicom® family of materials will revolutionise 'flame retardancy in plastics as we know it. Historically all flame retardants have had to use some additive to acquire the coveted UL 94 V0 rating for flame retardancy. Primarily this is because plastic is mainly comprised of oil and is not inherently flame-retardant. Therefore, to bring home the importance of (PCLs) innovation, we first need to look at the core issues surrounding Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs).
BFRs are inherently flawed as they contain a chemical compound called: Tetrabromo-4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol (TBBA). The issue with TBBA is that it causes a wide variety of health issues ranging from Endocrine Disruption to more significant health conditions such as Cancers. Endocrine Disruption is not only an issue for the individual exposed but also for humanity as a whole.
Recently, manufacturers have focused on polymer formulas containing zero halogens, such as FR PC ABS polymers, to get around the issues mentioned earlier. The trouble with these, however, is that they also contain a substance known as Resorcinol bis(diphenyl phosphate) (RDP), which is the main chemical component of the flame retardant package. Although a different chemical than TBBA, RDP also causes Endocrine Disruption.
Flame Retardant Legislation
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed a ban on TBBA and RDP for the above reasons. They have added the most widely used flame retardant packages to their list of substances of concern, also known as the CORAP list. The extent of the prohibition proposed by the ECHA is available on their website.
Developments from around the world
•European Chemical Agency (ECHA) – Restrictions roadmap for the ban of all FR additives. - Source: https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/49734
•Brominated FRs banned in displays in the USA from 2024 – New York & Washington States. - Source: www.saferchemicals.org
•Medical – European Health Care Without Harm – Phase-out list - Source: https://noharm-europe.org
•Endocrine disruption study - Prof Andreas Kortenkamp - Source: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/
Notoxicom® 'Self Extinguishing' Polymeric Flame Retardants
Understanding the significance of the upcoming ECHA crusade to eliminate harmful flame-retardant additives from the industry and the consequences of such a shift, PCL sought the opportunity to pursue the development of their new patented self-extinguishing polymer range called Notoxicom®. In addition, PCL felt that this move would help facilitate positive change in the polymer industry to move to safer flame-retardant materials for all the reasons outlined by the ECHA.
Polymer Compounders Limited, with a combined knowledge and experience of over 50 years of polymer science, accomplished the development of not one but two halogen-free flame-retardant materials. The materials are Notoxicom® B6000 – an FR PC/ABS Blend, and Notoxicom® S6000 – an FR PC/ASA blend.
“World’s first UL94 V0 at 0.8 mm halogen and aryl phosphate ester free, very low toxicity FR PC/ABS and FR PC/ASA materials that do not compromise on material properties and give lightweighting advantages.”-
Both Notoxicom® B6000 and Notoxicom® S6000 materials are not only safer and better overall for the environment due to their low smoke toxicity and non-migratory chemicals. Still, they are also much better at carrying out the job required of any halogenated and aryl phosphate ester-based flame-retardant polymer. Most importantly of all, they are compliant with the upcoming ECHA ruling.
Polymer Compounders Limited recently held a presentation at Kunststoffenbeurs in the Netherlands, whereby they discussed the implications and 'state' of flame retardants in polymers. The entire presentation is available below; it is certainly worth watching if you are utilising large amounts of flame-retardant materials within your organisation.
As the future draws closer, the importance of conscientious chemistry is becoming more apparent. There is no point in having chemicals to keep us safe if they do more harm than good in the long term.