logo

Dow converts Japanese Styrofoam plants to new technology

By: Frank Esposito

February 21, 2014

Dow Chemical Co. has converted its three Japanese plants making Styrofoam-brand extruded polystyrene foam over to its new polymeric flame retardant technology.

Materials made with the Dow technology are designed to replace hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) a common flame retardant that’s been labeled a pollutant with possible human health risks. Dow’s polymeric FR technology can be used as a drop-in replacement for HBCD. The material will be phased out in Japan in May, in Europe by 2015 and in Canada by 2017.

The plants are operated by Dow’s Dow Kakoh joint venture. JV president Takahiro Sugiyama said in a Feb. 17 news release that the firm “has made the new PolyFR-containing product available to customers in commercial quantities in order for the construction industry to meet Japanese regulations banning HBCD.”

In 2013, Dow licensed the technology to materials firms Chemtura Inc., Albemarle Corp. and ICL Industrial Products.

Dow next will begin using the materials at Styrofoam plants in North America and Europe. Eventually, it will be in place at all global Styrofoam sites. Flame retardants made with the new technology are expected to be used in extruded and expanded polystyrene foam insulation used in the construction market and related fields.