Fire-LCA Model: TV Case Study


A novel Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) mode! has been defined for the determination of the environmental cost of measures taken to attain a high level of fire safety. In one application of the model the fire safety performance of the product modelled is attained through the inclusion of an additive to the polymeric material used to manufacture the product. This study represents the first full application of the LCA model as defined above. This care study concentrates on a comparison between a TV with an enclosure manufactured from VO rated High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS, typical for the US market) and one with HB rated HIPS (typical for the European market). A fire mode! has been defined based on international statistics, which indicate that use of VO rated enclosure material essentially removes the risk of TV fires while approximately 165 TV fires occur per million TVs in Europe each year (where the enclosure material is breached). Large-scale experiments have been conducted, on both free burning TVs and fully furnished lounge rooms, to provide fire emission data as input to the LCA model. Species measured include acute toxicants such as: CO, CO' HO, HBr, Sb, VOC (volatile organic compounds), and chronic toxicants such as PAH (polycyclic aromatic compounds), PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), brominated and chlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans, and the flame retardant used in the VO enclosure, decabromodiphenylether (deca-BDE). These results are the most detailed measurements of their kind and provide a realistic measure of the environmental rost of a high level of fire safety. A detailed study has been made of the recyciability of commercial quality flame retarded HIPS (FR-HIPS) relative to non-flame retarded HIPS (NFR-HIPS). Results from this work show that the presence of the flame retardant does not prohibit the recycling of the plastic. Indeed the commercial HIPS grades used in this study indicate that the FR HIPS performs better than the NFR-HIPS after one cycle of thermo-oxidative ageing and recycling. The results also indicate that the name retardant does not migrate out of the plastic or degrade in the plastic during the ageing and recycling process. This is confirmed by the retention of the VO classification for the FR-HIPS even after ageing and recycling. The full application of the model indicates that emissions of some key species (such as dibenzodioxins and PAH) are actually lower for the TV with the FR enclosure than for the TV with the NFR enclosure. This has direct repercussions for the assessment of the environmental impact of the FR TV relative to that of the NFR TV. Finally, when considering the risk associated with the use of flame retardants it is important to also consider the risk associated with fires. Based on the indepth analysis of available fire statistics conducted as a part of this study, it has been estimated that as many as 160 people may die each year in Europe as a direct result of TV fires and as many as 2000 may be injured in the same period. The technology to achieve a high level of fire safety has been commercially available for many years. Based on the results of this study, a return to the use of materials with high levels of fire safety is clearly needed to provide adequate protection to European consumers.

Medarbetare: Håkan Stripple, Jan-Olov Sundqvist

Nyckelord: Flame retardant, fire, LCA, material recycling, andfill, energy recovery

Typ: Artikel

År: 2000

Rapportnummer: A1677

Författare: Margaret Simonson, Per Blomqvist, Antal Boldizar, Kenneth Möller, Lars Rosell, Claes Tullin, Håkan Stripple, Jan-Olov Sundqvist

Publicerad i: SP, Report 2000:13. ISBN 91-7848-811-7