Definition "halogen free" Misclassifies Many Ingredients: Florine Space

While chlorine and bromine are widely recognized, reported, and restricted as halogens in many applications, it is noteworthy that fluorine, iodine, and astatine (other Group 17/VIIA halogens in the Periodic Table of Elements) are not restricted in accepted industry definitions. “halogen free”. Depending on the industry that considers the “Halogen Free” marking, chlorine and bromine are the only halogens that are restricted and then at levels below 900-1,000 parts per million.

In the case of fluorine used in plastics, many anti-drip agents used in “halogen-free” plastic compounds, including polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), more commonly known as Teflon®, contain fluorine, and anti-drip agents are reported to be currently used. the range of 0.1-1.4% by weight. Some of these products may contain significant amounts of fluorine exceeding the level typically accepted under IEC 61249-2-21 (0.09% or 900 parts per million) as content limits for other halogens. In other cases, fluorinated salts may be formulated into plastic products at typical levels of 800 parts per million, particularly plastic parts made from polycarbonate, to impart flame retardant properties when labeling the product as “halogen free.”

In addition, it is noteworthy to note that fluorinated polymeric resins incorporated or alloyed into a plastic compound also do not contribute to the “halogen-free” stance of a finished polymer, as fluorine is removed from the list of halogens considered. Such fluorinated resins that may be incorporated or alloyed to impart improved electrical, flammability and processing properties include:

o polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF),

o ethylenetrifluoroethylene (ETFE)

o copolymers of ethylene and chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE)

o polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

o fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)

The apparent omission of fluorine, a halogen used in polymeric additives and plastics that is then regularly combined into other plastics to impart flame resistance and other properties, is primarily due to testing methodology and limitations in fluorine detection. The test methods used to detect bromine and chlorine do not have the ability to detect fluorine and therefore fluorine is left undetected and undetected despite being a halogen. Without a substantial address in testing methodology, the total halogen content is unlikely to be considered by regulators in the near future; however, environmentalists have recognized the potential human effects of fluorine toxicology and recent developments in groundwater contamination by fluorinated compounds, and the potential effects of thermal degradation of PTFE.

Recent concerns in the United States regarding the potential toxicological effects of groundwater contamination by certain fluorinated precursors and byproducts, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), as well as potential human toxicological effects from contact with PTFE-containing products manufactured by DuPont, better known as Teflon® may lead to a review of this obvious duality for halogen materials used across the industry. According to the environmental research organization Environmental Working Group:

“… over the past five years, the multi-billion dollar “perfluorochemical” (PFC) industry has emerged as a regulator, forming the basis of world-renowned brands such as Teflon®, Stainmaster®, Scotchgard® and Gore-Tex®. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’ It’s a priority for scientists and officials at the EPA. . Nobody thinks so now.”

Since 2000, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has conducted a major review of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). [US EPA PFOA Factsheet] In 2000, the US EPA strictly enforced the elimination of PFOS, the chemical that has been used for decades as an active ingredient in the popular Scotchgard® stain and water repellent from 3M. At the same time, 3M discontinued production of the related perfluorochemical PFOA.

Throughout 2005, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had PFOA under intense regulatory scrutiny due to reports of groundwater pollution. PFOA is most commonly used in the production of PTFE. A major brand of PTFE under consideration is Dupont Teflon®. Due to findings from toxicity studies and the fact that more than 90 percent of the United States population has PFOA in their blood, the United States Environmental Protection Agency continues to review human toxicity studies and potential health effects.

In December 2005, Dupont reached a US$16.5 million settlement agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency on a sanction action regarding the chemical compound PFOA; this agreement follows a US$107 million civil agreement in March 2005 on issues related to allegations of PFOA contamination of local drinking water by Dupont in West Virginia, USA.

In 2006, the issue of PFOA and PFOS content in plastics and other materials will be addressed by many states. In California (USA), the United Steelworkers (USW), the Sierra Club, the Environmental Law Foundation, the Environmental California, the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) A coalition has filed a petition to have PFOA listed as “a chemical known to the state to cause cancer” under the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Practices Act of 1986. Products based on certain toxicological findings under California Right to Information requirements. Additionally, a preliminary report on perfluorochemical contamination in Minnesota was considered by the Senate Environment Committee in February 2006.

In April 2006, sixteen actions in a $5 billion class action lawsuit were transferred to a Federal Court in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Court documents claim that Teflon® manufacturers did not disclose information about the chemicals used to make Teflon® chemicals, which are allegedly released when pans are heated. Teflon® manufacturer Dupont says the material is safe.

With the settlements in recent lawsuits, pending class action lawsuits regarding potential human poisoning from cooking surfaces without fluorine sticks in Iowa (USA), and information developed and shared during peer review, environmental protection groups and regulatory authorities alike continue. studies and research of the widespread use of perfluorochemicals in many industries with almost no indication of potential outcome. It should be noted that the use of perfluorochemicals as anti-drip agents and flame retardants, or the use of fluorinated polymers such as PVDF or FEP, has not been affected by any research up to this point. However, since the use of perfluorochemicals is permitted within the guidelines of “halogen-free” materials, reformulating polymeric materials to eliminate the use of these carefully studied materials provides a significant opportunity for technological advancement in providing truly “non-halogenous” materials. materials for the market.

JMME, Inc., Copyright 2006, All rights reserved

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