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Great Lakes Chemical Corporation Phases Out Flame Retardants Used In Mattress Foams

Furniture World News


Great Lakes Chemical Corporation voluntarily stopped production of penta- and octa- polybrominated diphenyl ether on December 31, 2004. The move, first announced by the company in November 2003, comes years ahead of legislative mandates and is a direct result of the company's development of an alternative flame retardant called Firemaster® 550. An assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the alternative flame retardant has a favorable environmental profile compared to penta-BDE. Customers have readily embraced Firemaster® 550 in the marketplace as the only penta-BDE alternative that simultaneously meets performance, fire-safety, and environmental standards. “At Great Lakes Chemical, we have a 'Greener is Better' philosophy for our business and for our products. We are committed to bringing products to the marketplace that are both effective and environmentally-responsive. Whenever we are able to replace a product with one that meets the same fire-safety standards and that has a better environmental profile, we will work aggressively with our customers to do so,” said Angelo Brisimitzakis, Executive Vice President, Flame Retardants and Performance Products. “Our decision to voluntarily phase-out penta- and octa-BDE is one example of our 'Greener is Better' commitment. We are proud that we were able to complete this voluntary phase-out on-time and in full partnership with our customers. Our company will continue to lead the effort to develop the next generation of environmentally-responsive, fire-safety endorsed flame retardants.” The voluntary phase-out of penta- and octa-BDE was made possible by advances in proprietary technology, and follows an EPA assessment that found that the penta-BDE replacement has a favorable environmental profile. In addition, tests have shown that Firemaster 550 is highly effective in providing flame retardant protection to foam products like those commonly found in furniture. Firemaster 550 flame retardant also meets or exceeds the UL-94 (Underwriters Laboratories Flammability Standard) and California Technical Bulletin 117 flame retardancy standards. Great Lakes has been pro-actively working with foam producers to make the change to Firemaster 550 flame retardant since the company first announced its intention to phase-out the penta-BDE and octa-BDE products in November 2003. Firemaster 550 flame retardant is the only penta alternative available that does not ask users to choose between product performance, environmental safety, or fire safety-users find that it offers all three. The company reports that its customers have readily embraced Firemaster 550 because it meets the same performance and fire-safety standards as the flame retardant it replaces and has a better environmental profile. Foam manufacturers are also attracted to the product because Firemaster 550 flame retardant has commercial applications beyond those of the products it replaces. Because of its performance, Firemaster 550 can be used as a flame retardant in foams found in automobile headliners, padding commonly used on beds, packaging foams, and insulation and acoustic foams. Great Lakes Chemical Corporation is the world's leading producer of certain specialty chemicals for such applications as water treatment, household cleaners, flame retardants, polymer stabilizers, fire suppressants, and performance products. The stock of the company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. For more information please visit the Great Lakes web site at www.greatlakes.com. FURNITURE WORLD Magazine has contacted the manufacturer to ask about the inclusion of these chemicals in upholstered furniture foams.