Halogen Free and Brominated Flame Retardants

Recent concerns over use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) have increased interest in halogen-free electronics. However, BFRs are not the only source of halogens in PCBs. Most PCB resins are epoxies and epoxy resins contain measurable levels of chlorine. Additional halogens are added to PCB laminates through glass sizes, wetting agents, curing agents and resin accelerators. It is important to realize that even without use of BFRs, there may be finite levels of halogens present as impurities in your product. The International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) defines halogen-free based on chlorine and bromine levels.

The most commonly used flame retardants in electronics are Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA) and Deca-Brominated Diphenyl Ether(DecaBDE).

IPC’s Halogen Free Committee has developed a white paper investigating the issues associated with halogen-free electronics. The IPC white paper provides information on cost, performance, product reliability, consumer safety, and end-of-life issues of common alternative flame retardants used in PCBs.

Regulations and Legislation

There are no bans or restrictions on the use of TBBPA or DecaBDE in EEE.

Environmental and Health Issues

Existing risk assessments do not demonstrate a public health or environmental concern from the most widely used flame retardants in electronic equipment, DecaBDE and TBBPA. (More…)

Additional Resources

Links for more information on halogen-free electronics and brominated flame retardants can be found here. (More…)