14 March 2016

Environmentally safe flame retardants praised as best practice

Smart flame-retardant plastics that need no environmentally harmful additives are receiving great acclaim. The new Paxymer solution developed in Mistra Innovation can help to reduce chemical loads on the environment and health alike.

Paxymer, a Swedish company, has developed flame retardants free from halogen in the FlameR project. Much of the plastic sold today contains flame retardants that make it less inflammable. The problem is that several of these flame retardants are toxic and persistent in the natural environment. They are harmful to humans and the environment alike.

In a new report from the International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec), which is working to take chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health out of circulation in society, the Paxymer plastic is cited as one of several good examples of substitution. This practice, i.e. replacing environmentally harmful substances by alternatives with less impact on the environment, is often profitable.

FlameR was one of the projects selected in Mistra Innovation’s call for funding applications in 2013, addressing small and medium-sized enterprises with ideas about smart products and services that solve various environmental problems. Within the project, non-toxic and flame-retardant polypropylene and polyethylene were developed. The idea was based on the formation of a protective carbonised surface, free from toxins, thereby limiting the fire. The patent for Paxymer was approved in the US last year as an important step in getting flame-retardant plastic out into the world.

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