Shifting FR Markets


The FRs market is experiencing a massive transformation in chemistry. As of 2013, bromine manufacturers no longer manufacture and use decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) in the U.S. according to the bromine industry association—Bromine Science and Environmental Forum (BSEF). Thus decaBDE consumption in the U.S. went from 38 million pounds in 2008 to zero by 2013—a dramatic decline given that it was projected in 2008 to increase to 42 million pounds by 2013.

Consumption of DecaBDE in the U.S. (gross weight basis)
Year Metric Tons Million Pounds
2003 18,900 41.667
2008 17,100 37.699
(as projected in 2008)
18,900 41.667
2013 (actual) 0 0.000







Sources: Glauser, J. (2009), Chemical Economics Handbook Marketing Research Report: Bromine. Menlo Park, CA: Stanford Research Institute; and

Despite phasing out major brominated flame retardants (BFR) like pentaBDE and decaBDE – and HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) that was widely used in insulation foams and hard plastics – the bromine-based FR market continues to expand. Currently BFRs are the second most widely used class of FRs globally—wedged between the most widely used FR, aluminum trihdyrate, and the third largest end use, phosphorous-based chemistries. The only hit the bromine manufacturers seem to be experiencing is that their growth rate is projected to be lower than the market average of 5% from 2013 to 2018 as well as much lower than the phosphorous-based FRs.