This August, at a meeting of Environmental Protection Agency scientists who are studying emerging pollutants, one family of chemicals unexpectedly stole the show: brominated flame retardants. Recently slated for bans in Europe and California, two classes of these compounds–mixes of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)–have had a low profile within the agency. But rank-and-file chemists and toxicologists raised what became the meeting's central question: What would it take for EPA to consider nationwide bans?
As it turns out, the U.S. manufacturer of both flame retardants has taken things into its own hands.
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