The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has dropped a plan to include flame retardant Deca-BDE in the REACH authorisation list in favour of preparing a proposal to restrict its use under Annex XVII of the regulation.

Dr Paul Goodman of ERA Technology provides some further background on what is becoming a bit of a saga.


“The REACH SVHC study concluded that Deca-BDE is persistent and bioaccumulative, but not toxic so is not a PBT. Also, it is not persistent or bioaccumulate enough to be a vPvB (PBT and vPvB are two of the criteria for classification as SVHCs).

Somehow, ECHA decided that being a PB is enough to be of "equivalent concern" so Deca-BDE was agreed to be an SVHC.

The latest development is via the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which if agreed will be a global ban. It is persistent so it may be agreed but this is not certain. The latest EU development is that if Deca-BDE could be a POP, then REACH authorisation is not worthwhile. Furthermore, most Deca-BDE in the EU is imported in articles and so authorisation will have no impact.


The EC now say that because the POPs process could take a long time and may not be agreed, they will ban Deca-BDE instead. As you know Deca-BDE is already banned by RoHS so this will mainly affect the automotive and aerospace sectors.


Is a ban justified? The EU carried out a comprehensive risk assessment about 8 years ago and concluded that no restrictions were needed although more research was required”.