DecaBDE (Decabromodiphenyl Ether)

CAS Registry Number 1163-19-5

What is it?

  • Decabromodiphenyl ether, also known as decaBDE, is a chemical that belongs to a family of substances known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) that were previously assessed by the Government of Canada.

How is it used?

  • PBDEs have been used mainly as flame retardants in polymer resins and plastics and, to a lesser extent, adhesives, sealants and coatings. Flame retardants are used to slow the ignition and spread of fire.
  • In Canada, decaBDE has been primarily used as a flame retardant in the manufacture of thermoplastics and polymer resins.
  • DecaBDE has been used in electrical and electronic products (for example, televisions, computers, household appliances, hairdryers, cables and wires) and in the production of textiles, such as upholstery and drapery fabrics.
  • DecaBDE is not manufactured in Canada, but it is imported into Canada as a commercial mixture or in finished consumer products.
  • The three main manufacturers of the decaBDE commercial mixture operating in the United States voluntarily ceased exports of the decaBDE commercial mixture to Canada in mid-2012. Currently, there are no known Canadian users or importers of the decaBDE commercial mixture.

Why did the Government of Canada assess it?

  • Prior to assessment in 2006, PBDEs (including decaBDE) were identified as a potential concern to the environment and to human health.

How are Canadians exposed to it?

  • The general population of Canada may be exposed to decaBDE through indoor dust, which may contain decaBDE, or through food.

What are the results of the assessment?

What is the Government of Canada doing?

  • As per the updated Risk Management Strategy for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), a multi-instrument approach was used to minimize releases of PBDEs, including decaBDE, from all sources to the environment. The approach considers the need for substance and product based controls in combination with the development of environmental quality guidelines, international co-operation and ongoing monitoring.
  • The Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations came into force on June 19, 2008, which prohibits the manufacture of all PBDEs in Canada, and restricts the import, use, sale and offer for sale of PBDEs found in commercial mixtures of greatest concern (Penta- and OctaBDE).
  • Based on the outcome of the final Human Health State of the Science Report for decaBDE, no additional action will be taken on decaBDE from a human health perspective.
  • On October 5, 2016, PBDEs were added to the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 which expand the scope of the existing prohibitions for PBDEs to cover all PBDEs (including decaBDE) unless present in a manufactured article. As a result, the Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers Regulations will be repealed when the regulations come into force in December 2016.

What can Canadians do?

  • The health risks associated with a chemical depend on the hazard (its potential to cause health effects) and the amount of chemical to which a person is exposed. DecaBDE is not a concern for human health at current levels of exposure.
  • Canadians who may be exposed to decaDBE in the workplace should consult with their employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) representative about safe handling practices, applicable laws and requirements under OHS legislation and theWorkplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).

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