Enabling Innovation for Safe and Sustainable Solutions
Flame retardancy is a legal requirement for many plastics used in electrical equipment, consumer electronics, building and construction, textile, and transportation applications. Flame retardant (FR) additives inhibit ignition and slow the spread of fire thereby allowing people more time to escape a fire, and protect critical infrastructure during a fire event.
The Hidden Toxins within Halogenated FRs
Today, over 60% of all FR plastic formulations are based on halogen-containing FR additives that have been shown to have severe, undesirable side effects such as persistence in the environment and bio-accumulation in animal and human tissues, human blood, breast milk, and food products. During burning and thermal disposal, halogenated FR additives can form highly toxic dioxins and furans and acidic species which can damage infrastructure. For example, studies with rats have shown negative effects of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) in liver, thyroid and neural development functions. Tetrabromine bisphenol A (TBBPA), the most popular brominated flame retardant in current use, has significant cytotoxicity (Biochem J., 2007, 408(Pt 3): 407-415).
Additionally, halogenated, small-molecule flame retardant additives readily migrate out of their host plastic, exposing humans and their environment to toxic chemicals. The migration of these halogenated, small-molecule FRs also results in a reduction of the application’s flame retardant function over time.
Manufacturers Pursue Safe, Sustainable FR Solutions
In response to these findings and other studies, electronic device manufacturers have instituted voluntary bans on plastic formulations with halogen-containing FR additives. Other industries are moving away from halogenated FR additives as well. Consequently, the plastics industry is searching for cost-effective, non-migrating, non-halogenated alternatives.
FRX Polymers Inc. (FRXP) is the world’s only company to commercially supply halogen-free polymeric materials for use as non-migrating flame retardant additives. These unique polymers have been commercialized under the brand name Nofia and have the highest limited oxygen index measured for any thermoplastic material, highlighting their FR functionality.
The Nofia polymers can be used as standalone, inherently FR materials but can also deliver FR performance and additional beneficial properties when blended with other polymers such as polycarbonate, polyesters, (thermoplastic) polyurethane, unsaturated polyesters, and epoxies.
Sustainable developments that are based on Green Chemistry principles led to efficient processes to make these new innovative polymers. No solvents are used in the manufacturing process. The atom economy of the reactions is 100% and a minimum amount of waste is produced in FRX Polymers’ production processes. Nofia products can readily be converted into useful products via melt processes such as melt spinning or blown film processing, giving Nofia products a distinct advantage versus other types of FR additives. Additionally, multiple toxicology studies showed a low-risk profile and Nofia products are globally registered.
Enabling ground-breaking advancements through collaborative partnerships and innovation.
Global Adoption of Nofia Flame Retardants
Armed with a high caliber, diverse and experienced team of plastic and chemical professionals, a full-scale state-of- art plant, a rich sales pipeline of several hundreds of millions of dollars of sales projects in development with many of the world's leading companies in their market verticals, FRX Polymers plans to double the capacity of Antwerp plant and build a second plant in Asia over the next 3 to 5 years to meet demand.
Additionally, Nofia products have been recognized by more than 250 global customers as an innovative, eco-friendly, and permanent flame retarding solution while simultaneously delivering a unique balance of properties.
Continuing sustainable developments and pursuing Green Chemistry principles is a guiding principle for the FRX Polymers team. As such, FRX Polymers actively participated in the Design for the Environment (DfE) program for alternative chemical flame retardants to decaBDE. Through its membership of Pinfa (Phosphor, Inorganic and Nitrogen Flame Retardant Association), FRX Polymers sponsors efforts to combine the DfE assessment with the GreenScreenTM models of Clean Production Action for comparative Chemical Hazard Assessment.