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Samsung investigates DecaBDE in US TV set

January 18, 2019

The electronics manufacturer is investigating how the flame retardant, DecaBDE, came to be found in one of its television sets sold in the USA.

As Chemical Watch explains, DecaBDE is a restricted substance in the EU and is also banned across 5 states in the US due to fears surrounding its “persistence, bioaccumulation and effects on nervous system development”.

The presence of this chemical in the Samsung TV set was discovered during tests conducted by Toxic Free Future and Clean Production Action. 12 televisions were tested for the presence of seven different flame retardants; as well as the Samsung set, DecaBDE was also discovered in a TV set manufactured by Element.

According to a Samsung spokesperson, the company had implemented a policy in 2008 “to stop using DecaBDE in all its televisions sold worldwide,” adding, “We recently became aware of the matter in question and are currently looking into it.”

In total, out of the 12 TV sets tested by the NGO, only one – manufactured by Insignia – was found to have no flame retardants whatsoever.

Bryan Goodman of the North American Flame Retardant Alliance commented, “Flame retardants in plastic components are a critical layer of protection against inadvertent electrical ignition, so it should come as no surprise that flame retardants were found in these television casings.”

Gordon Nelson, a chemistry professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, concurred, saying that such flame retardants “are necessary” to prevent fires in the home.

“Their absence presents a demonstrable life-safety risk. While DecaBDE was the initial flame retardant used in polystyrene, there are numerous material alternatives available today to meet the performance needed,” he said.

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