Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is is one of the larger brominated flame retardants in terms of production volume. Its molecular structure is shown below:
HBCD’s main use is in polystyrene foam insulation foam boards which are widely used by the construction sector. They exist in two forms, as expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) foams, both of which need to meet stringent fire safety regulations. HBCD can achieve the high standards required when added at very low concentrations. As well as providing fire protection during the service life of the building, protection against accidental ignition while stored on building sites helps ensure the safety of construction workers.
EPS and XPS insulation foams play a key contribution in helping governments to meet a major part of global, regional and national energy efficiency targets. In Europe they are indispensable for the implementation of the EU Directive on energy performance in buildings (2002/91/EC).
HBCD also finds application in the back-coating of textiles, mainly for upholstered furniture. This enables materials to meet the levels of fire safety required by legislation for furniture and other textile applications in public places in several EU Member States.
A further, minor, application of HBCD is in high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which is used in electrical and electronic equipment and appliances (e.g. audio visual equipment).
To access more information on HBCD, please go to:
For an update on the regulatory status of HBCD in Europe, please refer to the regulatory centre.