Photodegradation of incombustible materials [polystyrene (PSt) and polypropyrene (PP) containing 2 wt% of decabromodiphenyl oxide (DBDE) or tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBA) as a flame-cut agent] were studied using Okazaki Large Spectrograph (OLS). Samples were irradiated in air at 23°C with monochromatic light of wavelengths at 260, 280, 300, 320, 340, and 360 nm, UV-visible spectra and FTIR spectra were measured to identify the chemical structural changes of the polymers. Number of chain scissions, which is a measure of the polymer degradation, was estimated from the results of GPC measurements. It was found that the photostability of PP and PSt was reduced by the addition of DBDE or TBA. Photodegradation of these polymers took place by the irradiation of the light of wavelengths lower than 320 and 360 nm for the polymers containing TBA and DBDE, respectively. The most effective irradiation wavelengths for main chain scission are found to be 260–280 and 300 nm for PP or PSt–TBA samples and PP or PSt–DBDE samples, respectively. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.