Halogens are chemical components involved in the creation of various products, including electronics and plastics. In such applications, it is important that components be able to withstand high temperatures and be flame retardant. Though halogen-containing substances can be used to achieve these properties, there is some controversy about the negative environmental and health impacts of using halogens in industry.
The elements called halogens are found in Group 7 of the periodic table. The family includes fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. The word "halogen" means "salt former," and as such, these elements are found in the salts we use on a daily basis.
Halogens are found in common plastics and heat-treated materials, among other places. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and fluorinated ethylene propylene (Teflon) are both examples of common products containing halogens.
The term "halogen free" is used to describe products that have been created without the intentional inclusion of halogens. The International Electrochemical Commission (IEC) defines halogen free as having less than 900 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine or bromine but also having less than 1,500 ppm of total halogens.
The impetus for creating halogen free products is associated with the green movement as well as health concerns. When fires break out and halogen-containing plastics are ignited, toxic fumes are released into the surrounding area.
Halogen Free Alternatives
In independent testing, as reported by Panduit.com, halogen free replacements for substances previously used are just as effective for their desired purpose. Consequently, the benefits include improved safety, decreased environmental damage and acceptable function in comparison.
- Photo Credit office halogen lamps image by Yurok Aleksandrovich from Fotolia.com
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