KemI urges phase-out o...
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KemI urges phase-out of the flame retardant HBCD

21 October 2011

The international expert group of the Stockholm Convention has decided to recommend to list the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in the Convention. This would mean a ban or restriction to certain areas of use, a question that will be considered at the group´s next meeting.

- The Swedish Chemicals Agency intends to continue urge for a global phase-out of the substance, without any exception.  HBCD is a synthetic substance which is hazardous both to human beings and the environment and satisfactory alternatives exist for fire-protection. Alternative substances are used in Sweden today but a swift phase-out is important in order to reduce the amount built into buildings globally as isolation material, says Maria Delvin with the Agency´s International Secretariat, who participated in the expert meeting.

Decision in 2013

The expert Group (Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, POPRC) met in Geneva on 10-14 October 2011. The EU nomination of the substances hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), short-chained chloroparaffines (SCCPs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP) were also discussed.

At the meeting of the parties of the Stockholm Convention in 2013, decisions will be made on phase-out or other restriction of HBCD.


HBCD is a synthetic substance that does not occur naturally. It is mainly used in Europe in large quantities for flame retardant purposes in a number of products. It can be found in animals in the Arctic and in breast milk. The substance accumulates in living organisms, is disturbing to reproduction and is toxic to water-living organisms.