What are BFRs?

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What are BFRs?

BFRs, or brominated flame retardants, are chemical compounds that are mixed with other substances to reduce their combustibility.  As the name suggests, they are used with the intention of lessening the chance of combustion for some materials and substances. BMR chemicals are used in the manufacture of various products including clothes and furniture products.  The majority of BFR usage, though, is in the electronics industry. The computers that people use today contain a lot of bromine to ensure that they don’t catch fire easily.  Computer and electronic parts, such as the plastic casing, cables, and wires, and even the motherboard, typically contain brominated fire retardants.

Common BMRs include compounds such as PBB, or polybrominated biphenyl, PBDE, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and TBBPA, or tetrabromobispenol, among many others.  These compounds function to resist fire formation and/or slow the combustion process.  These compounds are considered effective in lowering the risk of fire when using several products that contain them, but experts also classify them as highly toxic to people, animals, and the whole of the environment.  With this concern, many people have pushed for manufacturers to stop using BFRs in the making of various items like computers and plastics.

BFR compounds are known to have a bio-accumulation effect in animals.  This literally means that they can build up in the bodies of humans and animals and cause health problems.  BFRs are also known as endocrine-disrupters, which mean that they affect the secretion of certain hormones in the body which may lead to imbalances and illnesses.  Some experts even point out that BFR may also contaminate the production of breast milk in women making these compounds highly toxic and dangerous to the body.  In terms of the environment, BFRs are considered pollutants.  Huge concentrations of the compound can be found in the air and in bodies of water that are near industrial sites.  The biggest concern with brominated fire retardant compounds is that they are highly resistant to decay and accumulate in the environment.

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