Let’s start with the good news. Groundbreaking innovations are unfolding across our industry. The effectiveness of flame retardants, an essential component of fire-resistant insulation used in constructing homes and buildings, is now advancing further than ever before. That’s a major achievement in the field of chemistry and it means a world of enhanced safety for families, workers, firefighters, indeed all of us…
Sound science demands rigorous application of ethical guidelines. Objective standards of good conduct ensure integrity and consistency, and give the public confidence in conclusions reached by careful research.
Foam plastic insulations contain flame retardants to meet stringent fire safety and building code standards that serve to protect the public. Dow spent years developing a new, more sustainable, flame retardant that would be better for the environment, while still providing the same level of fire safety and insulation benefits.
The International Bromine Council (BSEF), a global organization of scientists and engineers working on bromine-based technologies, is voicing strong concern with the “unprofessional behaviour” on display in a recent study on Polymeric Flame Retardant led by Christoph Koch.
When news outlets report on complicated or highly technical matters, especially those involving the findings of scientific research, the public deserves balanced reporting that includes competing viewpoints and, if reporters are doing their jobs properly, a little skepticism if the authors have competing interests.
Despite the recommendation of its own expert advisory committee to table the issue in favor of further long-term study, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) last week approved the use of polystyrene foam insulation without flame retardants in certain building applications.
BSEF, the International Bromine Organization representing producers of bromine-based technological solutions, has issued the following response to the recent Environmental Health News article on polymeric flame retardants:
Last week, Environmental Health News (EHN) covered a flawed study of the flame retardants used in Dow’s BLUEDGE™ technology, known as Polymeric FR or PolyFR. Unbelievably, EHN failed to contact Dow for our perspective prior to publication. We quickly issued a detailed response both to EHN and other organizations that contacted us about the story.
In response to your inquiry for a comment from Dow related to the Environmental Health News article “Environmentally friendly flame retardants break down into potentially toxic chemicals”, we find it unfortunate that EHN elected to reach out to us only after the article was published as we do have familiarity with the content of the studies conducted by University Duisburg-Essen and Christoph Koch. If we had been contacted, we would have been able to provide context and insight that could have brought the EHN article a more balanced perspective.