Dow Produces First Styrofoam XPS Insulation Material with New Sustainable Polymeric Flame Retardant

Dow Building Solutions, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), has successfully completed the conversion of its three STYROFOAM™ extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam plants in Japan to the new Polymeric Flame Retardant technology. Dow Kakoh, a joint venture of Dow Building Solutions, has started producing STYROFOAMTM containing the new Polymeric Flame Retardant (PolyFR).

“The new product has been extensively tested and has proven to maintain its flame retardant performance while having a more sustainable profile,” said Takahiro Sugiyama, president of Dow Kakoh. “We have made the new PolyFR containing product available to customers in commercial quantities in order for the construction industry to meet the Japanese regulations banning the use of the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) as of May 2014.”

Dow Building Solutions will convert all of its STYROFOAM™ XPS foam plants in North America, Europe, Middle East, and Japan to the new PolyFR technology. Because of the vast number of plants, this is a phased process that started in Japan in 2013 and will be followed by the conversion of plants in Europe and North America.

“This allows for a controlled conversion process that meets our quality requirements in every region and at the same time ensures product availability meeting global regulatory demands,” said Inken Beulich, research & development director for Dow Building Solutions Europe and project leader for the new PolyFR.

EPA recognition for the new PolyFR

In September 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) released a draft report on alternatives for the flame retardant HBCD. The agency presented the findings in the report to help manufacturers identify safer alternatives to the use of HBCD in polystyrene building insulation. In the report, the EPA states that “the butadiene styrene brominated copolymer [new PolyFR, ed.] is anticipated to be safer than HBCD.”

Dow introduced the invention and development of the PolyFR, a stable, high molecular weight, non-PBT (persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic) substance in 2011. This more sustainable additive provides a fire safety solution for XPS and EPS foams, enabling these thermal insulation materials to continue to meet the increasing demands of global energy efficiency regulations and sustainable building design.

The new PolyFR technology has received a number of high-profile business innovation awards including the 2012 R&D 100 Award, the 4th Annual Michigan Green Chemistry Governor’s Award, and the 2012 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Runners-up Award in the ‘Materials and Other Base Technologies’ category.

Dow has made the PolyFR technology available to the global extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation industry through three manufacturing and marketing licensees. The international licensees, Chemtura (Emerald Innovation™ 3000), ICL (FR-122P) and Albemarle (GreenCrest™), have built commercial production capacity for the new polymeric flame retardant amounting to more than 14,000 MT at the end of 2013 which will be expanded to more than 25,000 MT by the end of 2014.

About Dow Building Solutions

Dow Building Solutions has a 60+ year legacy of providing energy saving solutions to the global commercial and residential new construction and remodeling industry, which began with the launch of its flagship STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Foam Insulation, one of the most recognized brands of insulation in the world. A market-facing business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Building Solutions offers insulation, air sealing and weatherization solutions backed by building science expertise to help builders, remodelers, designers, architects and home/building owners reduce energy costs and protect against wind, rain and moisture, while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. More information about Dow Building Solutions can be found at

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at

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