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US NGO study identifies restricted substance

10 January 2018 / Electrical electronics, United States

Electronics giant Samsung is looking into how the restricted substance decaBDE came to be found in one of its televisions sold in the US.

The flame retardant, which is restricted in the EU and banned in five US states, was identified in the NGO study

Toxic Free Future and Clean Production Action – which oversees the Chemical Footprint Project – tested the plastic enclosures of 12 televisionsmade by major manufacturers, for the presence of seven types of flame retardants.

They found two televisions manufactured by Samsung and Element to be out of compliance because they contained decaBDE.

A Samsung spokesperson told Chemical Watch, the company implemented a policy in 2008 to stop using decaBDE in all its televisions sold worldwide.

They said:"We recently became aware of the matter in question and are currently looking into it."

DecaBDE is banned from use in the states of Washington, Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Maryland, due to concerns about its persistence, bioaccumulation, and effects on nervous system development.

The EU restricted its use in electronics in 2008 as part of the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) Directive. It is also on Annex A of the Stockholm Convention , which requires countries signed up to the treaty to eliminate listed substances from production and use.

In 2009, the largest importer of decaBDE came to an agreement with the US EPA to stop producing and importing the flame retardant for televisions by the end of 2012.

'Lack of commitment'

The NGO report found flame retardants present in 11 televisions at concentrations of up to 33% or one third by weight, in the plastic enclosures. In addition to the two televisions which were out of compliance, six others contained flame retardants of concern.

Only one television, by electronics retailer 4EurSole Western Embellished Leather Clog RKYH045 Womens p7qmb6o3
private label brand Insignia, did not contain any flame retardants.

The study tested for:

The NGOs also reviewed the websites of 12 television manufacturers for their chemicals policies and goals to phase out chemicals of concern

They reported "a disappointing lack of public commitment among television manufacturers to eliminate toxic flame retardants".

Six companies had no statements on their website, four had those that were vague or did not apply to televisions and only two demonstrated "proactive efforts to avoid chemicals of concern".

'Layer of protection'

Bryan Goodman of the North American Flame Retardant Alliance told Chemical Watch: "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."

He added that although companies voluntarily phased out decaBDE several years ago, "there may still be pockets of use abroad that explain the report's findings."

Gordon Nelson, professor of chemistry at the Florida Institute of Technology, was involved in developing TV flammability standards in the 1970s. He told Chemical Watch that flame retardants are necessary in televisions to prevent household fires.

"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.

In September last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to ban the use of organohalogen flame retardants in the external casings of electronics devices, as well as several other consumer product categories.

Tammy Lovell
Business reporter

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

A space‐time skew‐ t model for threshold exceedances

Corresponding Author

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Department of Statistics, North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.

: E-mail address: [email protected]

Department of Statistics, North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.

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: E-mail address: [email protected]

Department of Statistics, North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.

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Department of Statistics, Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A.

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Department of Statistics, Colorado State UniversityFort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A.

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First published: 12 January 2017
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To assess the compliance of air quality regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must know if a site exceeds a pre‐specified level. In the case of ozone, the level for compliance is fixed at 75 parts per billion, which is high, but not extreme at all locations. We present a new space‐time model for threshold exceedances based on the skew‐ process. Our method incorporates a random partition to permit long‐distance asymptotic independence while allowing for sites that are near one another to be asymptotically dependent, and we incorporate thresholding to allow the tails of the data to speak for themselves. We also introduce a transformed AR(1) time‐series to allow for temporal dependence. Finally, our model allows for high‐dimensional Bayesian inference that is comparable in computation time to traditional geostatistical methods for large data sets. We apply our method to an ozone analysis for July 2005, and find that our model improves over both Gaussian and max‐stable methods in terms of predicting exceedances of a high level.

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Please note: The publisher is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supporting information supplied by the authors. Any queries (other than missing content) should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.

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September 2017

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