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Regulations governing the usage of flame retardants in polyurethane (PU) foam used in furniture and automotive applications are prompting additive suppliers to tailor their formulations to meet regional requirements.

June 3, 2013

1 Min Read
Chinaplas 2013: Regulations force PU foam flame retardant rethink

Regulations governing the usage of flame retardants in polyurethane (PU) foam used in furniture and automotive applications are prompting additive suppliers to tailor their formulations to meet regional requirements. Speaking to PlasticsToday at the recent Chinaplas show in Guangzhou, Barry Chien, Sales Director, Greater China & ASEAN at Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura (Middlebury, CT) Business noted that California's Proposition 65 and Technical Bulletin 117 could open up possibilities for its Emerald Innovation NH-1 halogen-free solution.

NH-1 provides 117-compliant polyether foam at a load level of 19 php compared with 14 php for TDCP (tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate; already phased out in California) and 23 php for a competing non-halogenated solution believed to be a phosphate ester. Performance of the phosphate ester is also inferior.

Chien does concede that cost is an issue, with NH-1 selling for around $6/kg versus $2/kg for soon to be phased out TCPP and also requiring higher load levels compared with a similarly priced (per unit weight) solution it offers that meets local regulatory requirements. "Our most cost-effective solution available remains a liquid blend of our Firemaster 550 [brominated flame retardant] and phosphate ester," says Chien. In Europe, meanwhile, the preference for PU foam flame retardation is chlorinated phosphate esters.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that TCPP was listed on the California State Proposition 65 (issued May 24th, 2013), it was not, and at this time, there is no impending phase out of the use of TCPP.

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