Published On: Thu, Jun 11th, 2009

EPA Honors Clariant’s Exolit® OP 560 Flame-Retardant’s Pollution Prevention Potential

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Clariant its New Chemicals Program P2 Recognition Project Award for the company’s Exolit® OP 560, a new-generation non-halogenated flame-retardant.

The product, is made by Clariant’s Pigments & Additives Division for polyurethane foams in automotive, furniture and consumer applications.

This is the second time in two years that Clariant has won the EPA honor, given to products that offer innovative chemistry and significant pollution prevention potential. Clariant’s Paper business received the P2 Recognition Project Award in 2008 for Cartaspers PSM, a product used in paper manufacturing.

EPA gave only four P2 Recognition awards this year. Award winners are selected from among all new chemicals submitted to the agency for registration and for which manufacturing or import commenced in the U.S. during 2008. Exolit® OP 560 is a product of Clariant’s Pigments & Additives Division.

The award-winning chemicals are identified through EPA’s New Chemicals Program, which screens up to 2500 chemicals a year through the Pre-Manufacture Notice (PMN) P2 screening process as well as during more detailed new chemical reviews. In selecting products to recognize under the program, EPA says it looks for products that promote source reduction as well as safety goals, “in particular when the innovative chemistries substitute for existing chemicals posing greater risks.”

In recognizing Clariant’s Exolit® OP 560, EPA specifically cited its halogen-free “unique chemistry (that) allows maximum flame retardant efficiency without the release of potentially toxic gases into the atmosphere when combusted or the production of dangerous halogenated by-products upon degradation or combustion.”

Mark Self, market segment manager for Special Applications in Clariant’s Pigments & Additives Division, says Exolit® OP 560 is unique as an efficient flame retardant that offers low-dosage to meet current industry fire safety standards.

“We are particularly proud of the innovation behind this achievement,” says Self, “because of the human-health and environmental benefits it offers.” He notes that, “Exolit® OP 560 is a reactive flame-retardant that will chemically bind to the polymer instead of just being mixed into it. Therefore it cannot evaporate or migrate out of the polymer. This benign environmental profile is also often recognized by ecolabel programs.”

In contrast to traditional flame-retardants containing such halogens as bromine or chlorine, Exolit® OP 560 is halogen-free. “The flame protection mechanism involves the condensed phase of the combustion cycle and by-products are mainly contained within the char layer,” Self says. As a result, corrosive gases are eliminated and there is less smoke. “Traditional halogenated flame-retardants release potentially toxic gases into the atmosphere when combusted and can produce halogenated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans. The unique chemistry in Exolit® OP 560 allows maximum flame-retardant efficiency without the serious drawbacks associated with halogenated materials.”

Clariant – Exactly your chemistry.

Clariant is a global leader in the field of specialty chemicals. Strong business relationships, commitment to outstanding service and wide-ranging application know-how make Clariant a preferred partner for its customers. Clariant, which is represented on five continents with over 100 group companies, employs around 20,000 people. Headquartered in Muttenz near Basel, Switzerland, it generated sales of CHF 8.1 billion in 2008. Clariant’s businesses are organized in four divisions: Textile, Leather & Paper Chemicals, Pigments & Additives, Masterbatches and Functional Chemicals. Clariant is committed to sustainable growth springing from its own innovative strength. Clariant’s innovative products play a key role in its customers’ manufacturing and treatment processes or else add value to their end products. The company’s success is based on the know-how of its people and their ability to identify new customer needs at an early stage and to work together with customers to develop innovative, efficient solutions.