The Role of DBDPE in China and beyond: preventing fires and facing regulatory challenges - Let's talk bromine
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The Role of DBDPE in China and beyond: preventing fires and facing regulatory challenges


Decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) holds a significant position within China’s flame retardant sector, contributing to technological advancement and economic stability. This article provides an overview of DBDPE’s role, its production landscape, and the regulatory challenges it faces.

DBDPE in the Chinese Market, Global Impact and Regulatory Challenges:

Since its introduction to large-scale production in 2005, DBDPE has played a pivotal role in reshaping China’s flame retardant industry, reducing dependence on imported products. Key manufacturers like Shandong Haiwang Chemical Co., have maintained a competitive edge globally through China’s integrated bromine industry chain, notably witnessing an increase of 30% in total output value in 2022.

But what is DBDPE? Also known by its full name of decabromodiphenyl ethane, it is a flame retardant used in many applications of our daily lives such as plastic and rubber materials, protecting electrical and electronic (E&E) equipment. Its role is to inhibit and/or suppress the combustion process by reducing the heat release and slowing the spread of flames.

Thanks to its properties and wide range of applications, DBDPE’s influence extends beyond China’s borders, with significant exports to various countries to contribute to compliance with high fire safety standards.

However, proposed regulatory measures in Canada could trigger serious negative effects on fire safety and economic stability, affecting businesses and consumers in China and in other countries alike. Scientific assessments solely based on the “structural similarity to DecaBDE[1]” by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have raised concerns about its environmental impact, leading to proposed regulations to ban DBDPE from the country.

In response, numerous stakeholders and industry associations like the North American Flame Retardant Association (NAFRA) have advocated for more comprehensive scientific evaluations, pointing out the necessity of taking into account the current state of the science – with dozens of studies demonstrating that DBDPE is safe for use[2] and stable – and the disruption this could cause to supply chains, let alone on the safety of the public from the dangers posed by fire [3].

In this sense, thorough scientific assessments and tailored evaluations of each country’s economic context are essential in order to properly evaluate DBDPE’s environmental safety and contribution to public safety. This will allow to inform accurate regulatory decisions, reducing potential socio-economic and public safety-related consequences.


DBDPE plays a significant role in the global flame retardant industry, driving innovation and economic growth. As regulatory challenges arise, a collaborative and measured approach is necessary for scientific and evidence-based decision-making. By navigating these challenges with pragmatism and cooperation, countries like China can continue to effectively protect their citizens from the danger of fire, while at the same time preserving their socio-economic stability.



[1] A flame retardant now phased out. For more information:

[2] Full NAFRA comments:

[3] Full NAFRA press release:

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