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Safer Choice

Partnership to Evaluate Flame Retardant Alternatives to HBCD

About the Project | Milestones and Publications | Partnership Participants

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About the Partnership to Evaluate Flame Retardant Alternatives to HBCD

This partnership addressed viable alternatives to hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) for use in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) and extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). Although HBCD is used in a variety of materials, such as textiles and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) in electronics housings, it is most commonly used as a flame retardant in EPS and XPS, which are used as rigid foam insulation in the building and construction industry.

Readers interested in alternatives for HBCD’s secondary uses, such as in textiles and electronics housings, can refer to DfE’s Flame Retardant Alternatives for Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE) Partnership, which considers alternative flame retardants for a wider range of polymers and applications.


On June 12, 2014, through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program, EPA released a final alternatives assessment for "Flame Retardant Alternatives for Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)".

The public comment period on the draft assessment was open from September 24 until November 22, 2013, and was reopened from November 25 to December 6, 2013. Seven sets of formal written public comments were received and can be retrieved in Docket No. EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0379 via

Why did DfE conduct an alternatives assessment?

Under its Existing Chemical Management Program, EPA issued an Action Plan for HBCD, calling for DfE to convene a multi-stakeholder alternatives assessment to help decisionmakers choose safer alternatives to HBCD. Read more about DfE's Alternatives Assessments.

Participation of all interest groups in the alternatives assessment for HBCD was aimed at ensuring that the full range of views was considered from the start of the project and that they were incorporated appropriately into the project objective and methodology.

Background on Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)

HBCD is a brominated flame retardant that has been found to have persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) characteristics. EPA’s Action Plan for HBCD identified the chemical as persistent in the environment, bioaccumulative in living organisms, and highly toxic to aquatic organisms.

Human exposure is evidenced by the presence of HBCD in breast milk, adipose tissue, and blood, and it biomagnifies in the food chain.

HBCD also presents human health concerns based on animal test results indicating potential reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects. People may be exposed to HBCD from products and dust in the home and workplace.

For general information on flame retardants, read the Consumer Fact Sheet on Flame Retardant Chemicals.

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All publications from this partnership are available online.

Milestones Completion Date
Partnership kickoff meeting April 5, 2011
Finalize project scope April 2011
Finalize the identification of alternative flame retardants May 2011
Completed draft report, "An Alternatives Assessment for the Flame Retardant Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)" for public review and comment September 2013
Posted final report, "An Alternatives Assessment for the Flame Retardant Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)" June 12, 2014

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Partnership Participants

Alissa Cordner Whitman College
Heather Stapleton Duke University
Inez Hua Purdue University
Jeffrey Youngblood Purdue University
Alexander Morgan University of Dayton
Ramaswamy Nagarajan University of Massachusetts - Lowell
Automotive Industry
Filipa Rio Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
Nakia Simon Chrysler Group LLC
Lynn Smith United States Council for Automotive Research, LLC (USCAR)
Bing Xu United States Council for Automotive Research, LLC (USCAR)
Building and Construction Industry
Ted Grant AtlasEPS
Walter Reiter EPS Industry Alliance
Betsy Steiner EPS Industry Alliance
Tom Lent Healthy Building Network
Barbara Fabian Owens Corning
Kenneth Franklin Pactiv Building Products
Sarah Buffaloe U.S. Green Building Council
Whit Faulconer U.S. Green Building Council
Reed Hitchcock XPSA
John Ferraro XPSA
Eugene Zimmermann Zimermann Management Solutions
Electronics Industry
Helen Holder Hewlett-Packard
Cory Robertson Hewlett-Packard
Joon Chang Samsung Electronics America
Dinah Rhee Samsung Electronics America
Chemical Manufacturers
Ray Dawson Albemarle Chemicals
Susan Landry Albemarle Chemicals
Jackson Morrill American Chemistry Council
Paul DeLeo American Cleaning Institute
Guru Zingde Amfine
Andrew Bayley BASF
Luis Espada BASF
Jay Ghosh BASF
Al Wiedow BASF
Robert Campbell Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura Business
Mary Harscher Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura Business
Marshall Moore Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura Business
Steve Scherrer Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura Business
Adrian Beard Clariant
Tim Reilly Clariant
Chris Bloom The Dow Chemical Company
Christine Lukas The Dow Chemical Company
Mike Mullins The Dow Chemical Company
Scott Young The Dow Chemical Company
Smadar Admon ICL Industrial Products
Sergei Levchik ICL Industrial Products
Joel Tenney ICL Industrial Products
Andy Wang ICL Industrial Products
Jay Bolus MBDC, LLC
Paul Arch NOVA Chemicals
Paul Kurtanich NOVA Chemicals
Stacy Kauk Environment Canada
Kristina Rudnitski Environment Canada
Peter Ross Institute of Oceans Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Kathleen Curtis Clean and Healthy New York
Arlene Blum Green Science Policy Institute
Alex Madonik Green Science Policy Institute
Ken Kraus International Association of Fire Chiefs
Brian Penttila Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
David Wagger Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.
Standards Organizations
Eric Rosenblum UL Environment
State and Local Governments
Robert Brushia California DTSC
Robert Russo California Environmental Protection Agency
Andrea Lani Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Alister Innes Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Alex Stone Washington State Department of Ecology
Textile Industry
Janan Rabiah Association for Contract Textiles
John Gant Glen Raven, Inc.
U.S. Federal Government
Shannon Cuniff Department of Defense
Linda S. Birnbaum National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
June K. Dunnick National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
David Szabo National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Rick Davis National Institute of Standards and Technology
Treye Thomas United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Doug Anderson U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Cal Baier-Anderson U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Clive Davies U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Greg Fritz U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peter Gimlin U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Bradley Grams U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Christina Guthrie U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Alison Kinn U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Emma Lavoie U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Kristen Loughery U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Paul Matthai U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Loraine Passe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Alyson Lorenz U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sue Slotnick U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Laurie Solomon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Libby Sommer U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jordan Trecki U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Kelly Wedell U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
HBCD Partnership EPA Contacts
Clive Davies U.S. EPA, Design for the Environment
Emma Lavoie U.S. EPA, Design for the Environment
Technical Consultant
Laura Heine Clean Production Action

More information

If you would like more information, please contact Laura Romano at