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BFR testing

Dec 13, 2016

Brominated flame retardants (BFR) refers to a large group of substances, predominately utilised as the name suggests, as  fire retardants. These compounds are added to polymer materials and fabrics used in everyday items such as Furniture and electronics. The most commonly used brominated flame retardants are HexaBromoCycloDodecane (HBCD), TetraBromoBisPhenol A (TBBP-A) and PolyBrominated Biphenyls (PBB). 

Current environmental legislation, 2013/39/EU, includes PBDE and HBCD on the watch list and the Stockholm convention includes PBDE in their list of POP’s.

Due to the lipophilic nature of brominated flame retardants they readily bind to particles dispersed in water and will be deposited to sediment or sludge. In the same manner they may bind to dust particles in the air and be transported over long distances into areas normally unaffected by these manmade chemicals.


Another result of the lipophilic nature of these POP’s is that they will bioaccumulate and once released remain in the environment for prolonged periods. These compounds have a negative effect on human and animal health, they act as hormone disruptors and have a negative influence on the development of the nervous system and skeleton.

Lubomir Pokorny, Organic Laboratory Manager comments:

Since 2005 ALS has tested environmental samples for the presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB). Recently a number of successful tests were performed including hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBP-A) into the standard offering. Clients can now benefit from a complete portfolio of brominated flame retardants in soil, sediment, sludge and water. Our capabilities also include a smaller number of compounds in matrices such a blood, serum and biological samples.

Equipped with the latest LC/MS/MS and GC/MS/MS technology ALS is the laboratory of choice for a number of projects from all over the world. The list of projects ranges from testing of blood samples from Canada to the monitoring of brominated flame retardants in sludge from waste water treatment plants.