A survey of PBDEs in recycled carpet padding
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
April 2011

Polyurethane foam containing brominated flame retardants is recycled in some countries to make products such as foam padding for carpets (known as rebond). The Stockholm Convention Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Review Committee raised concerns about the practice since brominated flame retardants listed in the treaty could be carried over and diluted into the recycled products contributing to further human and environmental exposure. Recycled foam carpet padding from Canada, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Thailand, and USA was screened using handheld XRF for bromine and analyzed in the laboratory for polybromodiphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Bromine was not detected at significant levels in samples from Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand. Laboratory analysis of 26 samples from Canada, Hungary, and USA found that twenty-three samples contained at least one PBDE listed in the Stockholm Convention (88%) with levels ranging from 1 – 1130 ppm. The results raise concerns about recycling materials containing flame retardants which results in worker and consumer exposure to substances listed in the Stockholm Convention for global elimination, particularly for children crawling on carpeted floors. To our knowledge, this is the first publically available investigation of PBDEs in carpet foams which may contain recycled materials.

Source Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
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