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Bromine forum counters Greenpeace electronics report

Posted: 06 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:greener electronics? brominated flame retardants? Greenpeace report?

Responding to Greenpeace's "Guide to Greener Electronics" report, the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF) said that the substances the environmental group seeks to eliminate are all approved for use and provide critical performance and safety functions in a variety of electronic products.

In particular, the Greenpeace report targets electronics manufacturers that use brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which are commonly used in electronics to provide fire safety. Preventing fires in electronics is particularly important, as they often contain heat sources and significant amounts of highly flammable plastics as illustrated by recent incidents with music players, computer batteries and game consoles bursting into flames, said BSEF.

"It is critical that consumer electronics be fire safe, and BFRs are a very effective, proven way to provide that protection," said Michael Spiegelstein, chairman of BSEF, in a statement. "It is irresponsible and dangerous for Greenpeace to simply propose eliminating these products without proposing equally safe and proven replacements."

Two types of BFRs commonly used in electronic devices are TBBPA and Deca-BDE. TBBPA is widely used in electronics, especially in PCBs due to its effectiveness, reliability and safety with respect to the environment and to human health, said BSEF. A recent risk assessment conducted by the European Union concluded that TBBPA is safe for continued use and presents no health risk.

Deca-BDE is used to protect the plastic components of electronic devices from the risks of fire. Deca-BDE has also been evaluated and found that it did not present any risk to human health or to the environment under current conditions of manufacturing and use, said BSEF.

- Gina Roos
Electronics Supply & Manufacturing

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