Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) has the largest market among brominated flame retardants. It is a white to off-white powder melting point of 180 -184簞C ; soluble in methanol and ether. TBBPA is produced by the bromination of BPA (bisphenol A) with various solvents such as halocarbon alone, hydrobromic acid, aqueous alkyl monoethers, acetic acid ( with sodium acetate to improve colouror) or methanol (methyl bromide is expected as a co-product).
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is used as a reactive flame retardant in epoxy, vinyl esters and polycarbonate resins. The main application of TBBPA in epoxy resins is in PCB (printed circuit boards) where the bromine content may be 20% by weight. It is used also as a flame retardant in polymers such as ABS, polystyrenes, phenolic resins, adhesives, paper, and textiles and others. TBBPA can be combined with a synergist such as antimony trioxide for maximum flame retardant performance. TBBPA may also be used as a parent compound for the production of other commercial flame retardants, such as tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2-hydroxyethyl ether), tetrabromobisphenol A dibromopropylether, tetrabromobisphenol A bis(allylether), tetrabromobisphenol A carbonate oligomers, and tetrabromobisphenol A brominated epoxy oligomer.
TBBPA is the largest volume brominated flame retardant (BFR) in production today to improve fire safety of mainly electrical and electronic equipment. The main application of TBBPA is as a reactive flame retardant in laminates (e.g. epoxy resins) for an estimated 90+% of printed wiring boards. TBBPA is also used as an additive flame retardant in ABS plastics. TBBPA is chemically bound in these applications and has no potential for emissions to the environment Among all the different flame retardants that can be used in printed wiring boards, TBBPA is the most well researched flame retardant.
According to both the WHO and the currently undertaken EU Risk Assessments, TBBPA has little potential for bioaccumulation and presents no significant health effects of concern. Also, No emissions from circuit boards could be detected TBBPA is currently being risk-assessed at the EU-level.