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26 May 2003

 Press Statement with regard to Greenpeace Rainwater Research Report

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs), which are used to increase the fire resistance of electronic appliances and insulation materials, have not been found widespread in rainwater according to research in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany released by Greenpeace today.

No findings of the BFR Deca-BDE were recorded. HBCD was found at levels well below the levels of possible concern established by the European Union. HBCD was found in only one location out of the 47 sampled which is linked to a point source. The findings support efforts underway to reduce BFR emissions from industry as opposed to restricting BFR use.

“The report demonstrates that emissions are controllable and can be managed since they are limited to industrial sources. We have already reduced emissions to water and soil from this production location in Terneuzen by over 90% down to almost zero levels. We commit to repeat measurements of the Greenpeace study in this specific location in order further reduce emissions to air”, said Lein Tange, Chairman of the European Brominated Flame Retardants Industry Panel.

Today’s conclusions of the Greenpeace report demonstrate that environmental concerns are manageable and that investment from the industry to eliminate emissions is worth the benefits these chemicals bring to every day life in terms of consumer fire safety in products, such as TV sets. For example, their use in products gives 15 times more escape time from a fire which is of particular importance to the elderly, children and vulnerable groups.

Flame retardants contribute everyday to saving multiple lives as they reduce the likelihood that products will catch fire and they slow the spread of fire
. In the United Kingdom, over 3000 lives were saved from 1988 – 2000 as a result of Flame Retardants used in upholstered furniture. In other EU countries such fire safety standards do not exist.

For further information please contact EBFRIP Secretariat:

René Montaigne or Lein Tange, EBFRIP Chairman at tel: + 32.2.676.73.38

Note to the Editor: Reference to BFRs being Persistent Organic pollutants is wrong and misleading. Under the UN Stockholm Convention which defines POPs, none of the BFRs are listed or categorized as POPs.