Proposed REACH restriction dossier reflects industry’s commitment to safe use of diisocyanates

03 November 2016

Brussels, 28 October 2016 – On 7 October 2016, German REACH competent authorities submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) a restriction dossier proposing risk management measures to ensure safe handling of diisocyanates at the workplace. The dossier calls for a mandatory training scheme for the industrial and professional use of diisocyanates but also allows to apply for exemptions from this restriction.

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Industry committed to the safe use of diisocyanates

ISOPA, ALIPA and the signatories of this press release representing the industrial and professional users of diisocyanates at European and national level are committed to the safety of workers handling diisocyanates. In recent years, this commitment has allowed the entire value chain to join efforts and closely cooperate with the German Reach competent authority BAuA – the German REACH competent authority –in order to provide them with the most solid and relevant information during the development of the dossier.

Authorities foresee trainings FOR USERS

The German proposal focuses on integrating training  measures for the safe handling of the substances that will, therefore, remain available on the market.

One of the key measures proposed by German authorities would require diisocyanate producers – as well as different parts of the value chain– to develop and maintain training materials. These trainings will be made mandatory and ensure that employees handling diisocyanates have access to adequate safety instructions in all languages used within the EU.  The exact timing and content of trainings will depend on the type of activity and the level of potential exposure at work. An indicative list of activities is included in the dossier’s appendix. While further details should be defined during the adoption of the restriction at EU level, the training courses are expected to be made available/given either via independent training institutes, public authorities designated by Members States or by in-house experts of companies. Exemptions are foreseen for activities that do not lead to relevant exposure levels.

Industry welcomes the EU-wide mandatory training for safe handling of diisocyanates through the entire value chain.

This ensures the optimal protection of workers and contributes to the sustainability of our products.

Next steps

In the subsequent legislative process a public consultation of six months will be launched by ECHA which allows commenting on the proposal.

The whole decision-making process under REACH will take approximately 1,5 - 2 years, after which the regulation is expected to be adopted by the European Union. For the implementation of the regulation a transition period is expected to be fixed to adequately allow introduction of the measures throughout the whole supply chain.

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About diisocyanates

Diisocyanates are substances used in the manufacture of polyurethanes. They are employed in a wide range of applications, notably for the production of flexible and rigid polyurethane foam, in some adhesives and sealants, in binders, in coatings, and for the production of polyurethane elastomers. Diisocyanates are processed during the production process of polyurethanes and are no longer present in the cured product.

About Polyurethanes

Together with polyols, diisocyanates are the essential building blocks for the manufacturing of polyurethanes, a plastic material that exists in various forms. It can be tailored to be either rigid or flexible, and it is the material of choice for a broad range of end-user applications such as insulation (of buildings, refrigerators and freezers), adhesives, coatings, automotive parts, sportswear, bedding and furniture etc.

Polyurethane is a very sustainable material, as it offers tangible solutions for challenges like climate change and energy efficiency, and its durable and lightweight characteristics can enhance resource efficiency.

About the industry

The polyurethane industry contributes approx. € 230 bn to the European economy. Over 2 million people are employed in the polyurethane industry via 420,000 companies in Europe.

About the associations

ALIPA is the European aliphatic isocyanate producers Association

CEC is the European Confederation of the Footwear Industry

CECED is the European Trade Association for Domestic Equipment Manufacturers

CEPE is the voice of paint, printing ink and artist`s colours in Europe

Deutsche Bauchemie is the German construction chemicals Association

EFIC is the European Furniture Industries Confederation

EAIPC is the European Association of professional Industrial Painting Contractors for protective and marine coating application to metal and concrete substrate

EPF is the European wood-based panels federation and represents the European manufacturers of particleboard, MDF, OSB, hardboard, softboard and plywood

Euromoulders is the European Association of Manufacturers of moulded Polyurethane parts for the Automotive Industry

Europur is the European Association of Manufacturers of flexible Polyurethane foam blocks Manufacturers

FECC is the European Association of Chemical Distributors

Feica isthe Association of the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry

FSKis the Specialist Association of Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes

IndustrieverbandKlebstoffe is the German Association for Adhesives

ISOPA is the European Diisocyanate and Polyol Producers Association

IVPU is the German Association of Rigid Foam Polyurethane Producers

Kennisplatform bundles the expertise on polyurethane spray foam in the Netherlands

PDA is the Polyurea Development Association Europe

PPA Europe is the European Association for Panels and Profiles, represents the manufacturers of metal profiled sheets, sandwich panels and ancillary products on the European level

PU Europe is the single European voice for the polyurethane (PUR/PIR) insulation industry

VdL is the Asscociation of the German Paint and Printing Ink Manufacturers

ZVEI is the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers´ Association

Contact:

Jörg Palmersheim, Secretary General

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Tel: +32 2 676 74 75