BASF supports new polymeric flame retardant

Top Quote Promising results with new polymeric flame retardant for expandable and extruded polystyrene. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) April 06, 2011 - BASF supports the announcement that Dow Chemical has signed a license agreement with Chemtura Corporation for the production of a new brominated polymeric flame retardant and that Chemtura plans to build a production facility for this substance. Dow aims to finalize agreements with other licensees by the end of 2011 to ensure sufficient volumes for the global market. Like other companies, BASF has also been investigating the use of this polymer, which Dow developed as a replacement for HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane).

    HBCD is used as a flame retardant to ensure that expandable and extruded polystyrene foam insulation (EPS and XPS) meets high fire safety standards. Although HBCD plays an important role in protecting human lives and property from fire, the substance is listed as subject to authorization under the European Union’s REACH legislation. Unless it is expressly authorized as a flame retardant its use will be restricted as of 2015 due to environmental concerns. Dow’s new polymer ensures the same flame retardancy as HBCD while offering a superior environmental profile.

    “Polystyrene-based foam insulation like BASF’s Styropor®, Neopor® und Styrodur® C makes a significant contribution to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings – one of the major challenges of the 21st century,” said Dr. Giorgio Greening, Senior Vice President of BASF’s global business unit for PS foams. “Extensive test series with the new flame retardant on a small to medium scale have yielded very promising results. We are therefore very confident that this polymer will become a suitable replacement for HBCD in the coming years.”

    As soon as sufficient amounts of the polymer are available, BASF plans to test new product formulations on a larger scale. Should these tests and customer trials also prove successful, BASF will then start to switch all product lines to the new flame retardant. Industry-wide, several years will be needed to replace HBCD completely. In the meantime, it will be necessary to continue to use HBCD as an efficient flame retardant for polystyrene foams.

    HBCD is added in very small amounts to formulations for polystyrene insulating foams in order to meet high fire safety standards for construction applications. The substance is fully embedded in the plastic foam and is therefore not associated with a risk to health or the environment during or after the use of the product.

    About BASF

    BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and agricultural products to oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of about €63.9 billion in 2010 and had approximately 109,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

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