HBCD – harmful substances in recycled polystyrene

Do not underestimate the harmful substances in recycled polystyrene!

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  Insulation makes sense! Lower heating costs, more comfort, increased value, etc. all speak in favour of it. It is, however, crucial to pay attention to the quality of the insulation materials, since your own four walls are supposed to increase your well-being and not make you ill.

HBCD is actually banned

The flame retardant HBCD was used in insulation materials for a long time. The chemical was identified as a poorly degradable organic pollutant in 2013. HBCD has since been banned throughout Europe. Current tests still show the presence of HBCD in recycled plastic despite the ban. This makes it all the more important to keep yourself well informed. The best thing to do is to raise the subject of HBCD directly with your supplier. But be careful: many companies are unable to provide information about the contents due to a lack of monitoring.


So ask specifically for a quality certificate.

What makes HBCD so harmful?

HBCD is toxic! The substance poses a health risk and is even suspected of adversely affecting fertility. It is also long-lasting because it is difficult to break down in the environment. HBCD also accumulates in living organisms. The substance can now already be detected in fish, marine mammals and birds of prey in Arctic regions. The fact that the substance is distributed over such distances also testifies to its long-distance transport potential.

The good news: HBCD is not the be-all and end-all!

Good insulation doesn’t have to contain harmful substances to be effective. Even better: a non-toxic composition makes direct contact with the ground possible without foils or other separating layers. This reduces the amount of waste and plastic and is good for the environment!


There are major differences on the market in terms of quality and properties. Most of all, recycled polystyrene often contains HBCD. Do your health a favour and get well informed!


Have your recyclate sample tested for HBCD free of charge


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