Scientific Opinion on Emerging and Novel Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) in Food


Emerging brominated flame retardants, novel brominated flame retardants, BFRs, occurrence, food, toxicology, human exposure, risk assessment
First published in the EFSA Journal
19 October 2012
25 September 2012
6 December 2013. This version replaces the previous one/s.

Corrections were made to the summary, main body of the text and conclusions to include the data submitted by Ireland and the UK through the EFSA BFR call for data. The inclusion of these data does not change the approach taken by the CONTAM Panel, or the conclusions or recommendations.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel

EFSA was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on brominated flame retardants (BFRs) other than PBDEs, PBBs, HBCDDs, TBBPA and brominated phenols and their derivatives. The BFRs that are the subject of the current opinion, were classified in groups termed ‘emerging’ and ‘novel’ BFRs. Information on 17 emerging and 10 novel BFRs was collected. The information varied widely for these BFRs. There is a lack of experimental data on physico-chemical characteristics, stability/reactivity and current use and production volume of all the emerging and novel BFRs. Due to the very limited information on occurrence, exposure and toxicity, the CONTAM Panel could not perform a risk characterisation for any of the BFRs considered. Instead, an attempt was made to identify those BFRs that could be a potential health concern and should be considered first for future investigations. For this purpose the Panel first evaluated the available experimental data on occurrence in food, behaviour in the environment and toxicity. Secondly, a modelling exercise was performed focussing on the potential of the emerging and novel BFRs for persistence in the environment and for their possible bioaccumulation potential. There is convincing evidence that tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (TDBPP) and dibromoneopentyl glycol (DBNPG) are genotoxic and carcinogenic, warranting further surveillance of their occurrence in the environment and in food. Based on the limited experimental data on environmental behaviour, 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) and hexabromobenzene (HBB) were identified as compounds that could raise a concern for bioaccumulation. For the modelling exercise, the CONTAM Panel selected two environmental characteristics, overall persistence and potential for bioaccumulation, as being most relevant to provide insight into the possibility that emerging or novel BFRs might accumulate in the food chain, and thus might appear in food intended for human consumption. The modelling exercise identified ten additional BFRs that should be subjected to further in-depth studies.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Diane Benford, Sandra Ceccatelli, Bruce Cottrill, Michael DiNovi, Eugenia Dogliotti, Lutz Edler, Peter Farmer, Peter Fürst, Laurentius (Ron) Hoogenboom, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Anne-Katrine Lundebye Haldorsen, Manfred Metzler, Carlo Stefano Nebbia, Michael O’Keeffe, Ivonne Rietjens, Dieter Schrenk, Vittorio Silano, Hendrik van Loveren, Christiane Vleminckx, and Pieter Wester
Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain
EFSA Journal 2012;10(10):2908 [133 pp.].
Question Number
On request from
European Commission
Print on demand
Number of Pages