Overview of Studies Conducted on TBB

As mandated by section V of the Toxic Substances Control Act, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to require extensive scientific assessment of potential environmental and health effects before it authorizes the production of all new chemicals, including flame retardants, which are among the most carefully studied chemicals used in consumer products.

Chemtura has conducted more than 30 separate studies on TBB, the primary component of Firemaster® 550 flame retardant, for regulators in the United States and other countries. This research met U.S. government requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

After more than a decade of study, our scientists concluded — and the EPA agreed— TBB has a low potential for persistent and bioaccumulation, and is an improvement over the product it replaced.

The studies Chemtura conducted fall into four categories:

Product Handling Safety

Product handling studies provide information on the physical properties of the material, such as the melting temperature or the density of the material compared to water. The results from these studies are used in the workplace to help ensure the safety of individuals working with the material. They also help to inform product storage decisions.

Studies conducted include:

Persistence and Fate in the Environment

Persistence and fate studies provide information on how the material interacts with the environment. These studies are mainly conducted to determine the potential impact on the environment if a release occurs. The results of these studies provide information on how quickly a material will biodegrade or how soluble it is in water. These studies showed that TBB will degrade and is also tightly bound to soil, which suggests a favorable environmental profile for the product and limited impact on the environment in the event of a spill.

Studies conducted include:

  • OECD 105: Water Solubility - Date 12/1997
  • OECD 111: Hydrolysis as a Function of pH - Date 9/1997
  • OECD 121: Adsorption Coefficient Soil Adsorption Coefficient - Date 5/1997
  • OECD 301 D: Ready Biodegradation - Date 1/1998
  • OPPTS 835 3220 & OECD 303A: Porous Pot Biodegradability - Date 5/2002
  • EPA Specified Incineration Simulation Protocol - Date 5/2002
  • OPPTS 835.3170: Shake Flask Die-Away Test - Date 2/2003
  • EPA's specified Migration Protocol - Date 2/2009

Aquatic Toxicity and Bioaccumulation

Aquatic toxicity and bioaccumulation studies provide information on how likely a material is to harm aquatic life or bioaccumulate in a living organism. These studies are conducted to help inform the potential impact the material could have on the ecosystem in terms of the food chain. Some the studies conducted assess the likelihood the material will remain stored in the body or whether the material impacts reproduction. The results from these studies showed that TBB has a minimal impact on the environment and there is minimal concern for bioconcentration.

Studies conducted include:

  • OECD 107: Partition Coefficient - Date 12/1997
  • OECD 201: Algal Growth Inhibition - Date 4/1998
  • OECD 202: Acute Toxicity to Daphnia magna - Date 4/1998
  • OECD 203: Acute Fish Toxicity - Trout - Date 4/1998
  • OECD 305C: Flow-Through Bioconcentration - Trout - Date 4/2003
  • 15 day Chronic Tox/Reprotox Daphnia carinata - Date 2003

Mammalian Toxicity

Mammalian toxicity studies provide information on whether a material has the potential to be toxic to humans. These studies are conducted to help inform the level of risk associated with exposure to a material. Some of the studies looked at product handling and the impact of skin or eye exposure to the material in its pure form. Others tested to determine the likelihood of genetic changes or developmental harm from the material. The results showed that TBB is not toxic at predicted exposure levels and does not pose serious risk to workers handling the product. The studies also indicated that TBB does not cause genetic or chromosomal changes. While some of these studies suggest evidence of an effect on development, the doses were much higher than what a person would be exposed to in the real world.

Studies conducted include:

  • OECD 401: Acute Oral Toxicity - Date 10/1996 & Date 4/1997
  • OECD 402: Acute Dermal Toxicity - Date 4/1997
  • OECD 404: Acute Skin Irritation - Date 4/1997
  • OECD 405: Acute Eye Irritation - Date 4/1997
  • OECD 406: Skin Sensitization Guinea Pig - Date 4/1997 & Date 1/1999
  • OECD 407: 28-day Repeat Dose Oral (Gavage) Toxicity - Date 9/1997
  • OECD 471/472: Reverse Mutation Assays - Date 2/1997
  • OECD 473: Chromosome Aberration Test - Date 12/1997
  • OPPTS 870.3700: Prenatal Developmental Tox - Rat - Date 8/2008
  • OPPTS 870.3800: 2 Generation Reproduction - Date 7/2008

For more detailed information on the doses or concentrations that were used in these studies, please refer to Chemtura's material safety data sheet. There you will find the numeric values for most, if not all, of these tests.