Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)

2021-05-12 02:29:36
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These are added to plastics and fabrics to make them more flame-resistant. They are organobromine compounds that have an inhibitory effect on the air combustion and that also reduce the flammability of the products that contain them. They are chemicals that are mixtures of man-made chemicals which can be added to a wide variety of products. These chemicals are added to the industrial chemicals to reduce their flammable nature. There are three classes of Brominated flame retardants which are polybrominated diphenyl ethers which include the textiles, the electronic castings, and the plastics. Furthermore, the hexabromocyclododecanes is a class of brominated chemicals and involves the thermal insulation in the building industry (Boer, 2008). Another class of the brominated chemicals is the tetrabromo bisphenol biphenyls that include the textile, consumer appliances and also the plastic foams.

They are marketed as technical mixtures in different commercial brands, and they consist of various compounds of chemicals. Brominated flame retardants are used in the electronic industry. The electronic industry is considered the major consumer of the brominated flame retardants as they are applied in reducing the combustion of the electronic appliances (Boer, 2008). They are employed in the computers. Computer industry applies them in the print circuit boards in such components as the connectors. They are also used as the plastic covers mainly in the cables. Furthermore, the plastic covers in the televisions sets contain Brominated flame retardants. Furthermore, the BFR are contained in the carpets, pillows, paints and domestic kitchen appliances.

Even though the BFR are important and play a critical role economy, they have detrimental health effects. Many brominated compounds have received increasing criticisms as far as their household use is concerned. It is reported that children should not come in contact with them since they might swallow and have detrimental effects on their health. It also believed that apart from having effects on the human beings, they also have health effects on the animals. Some of the brominated flame retardants are considered as bio accumulative, persistent and toxic to either human beings or the animals (Shah & Mubasher, 2010). BFR are believed to cause endocrine disruption and neurobehavioral effects. One of the concerns is in the firefighting industry where individuals are exposed to brominated fire retardants. It is believed that when inhaled, they might cause cancer. They have thus contributed to the increased rate of cancer worldwide. For example, in Europe, the rate of cancer associated to BFR is beyond the reach and risk management strategies have been set in place to counteract their health effects.

Furthermore, the current state of waste disposal worldwide has increased the release of BFR into the environment and thus increases potential effects of these substances. The FDA has believed that BFR are carcinogenic, and they have recommended for the banned of some classes found in this category. The position of state government is that the health effects caused by these BFRs are detrimental and cannot be condoned unless they are banned or their use restricted. BFR should be tightly regulated in the U.S since their effects are severe and might affect the next generation (Janssen & Health Care without Harm (Organization), 2005). The label requirements are not enough since the information contained in the label might be different from the reality of the chemicals and thus further tests should be performed to ascertain their safety in the environment. Some of the traders might print information on the label to market the chemicals but when they reach the environment, they might produce detrimental effects than stated in the labels.


Boer, & J. (2008). Brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Amsterdam [u.a.: Elsevier.

Janssen, S., & Health Care without Harm (Organization). (2005). Brominated flame retardants: Rising levels of concern. Arlington, VA: Health Care Without Harm.

Shah, N. C., & Mubasher, M. (2010). Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposure in North Americans: Cause for concern? (Masters Abstracts International, 48-4.

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