Members discussed with ECHA the ‘Flame Retardants Strategy’ and other chemicals, safety and fire safety developments.
Some thirty representatives of fifteen pinfa member companies met at the pinfa General Assembly in Valencia on 20th April (after the Aimplas Flame Retardant workshop, see below) and online.
pinfa members were able to dialogue with Jesus Vazquez Rodriguez and Maarten Roggeman of ECHA, who presented the recently published ECHA Flame Retardants Strategy (see pinfa Newsletter n°147), underlining that FRs are useful and value-added chemicals, but that some are problematic. ECHA’s assessment started from an inventory of some 350 chemicals identified as used as FRs, then focussed on halogenated and organo-phosphorus FRs, for which ECHA then defined eleven “groups” containing some 220 chemicals. ECHA intends to propose regulation by “group” to avoid regrettable substitutions. ECHA considers that the objective should be to have only low-hazard FRs, or FRs with low mobility and closely controlled end-of-life. Several groups of organo-phosphorus FRs are identified as non-hazardous or of low hazard, for others data is still being developed. As well as regulatory restrictions by REACH, certain groups of FRs may be banned through EcoDesign. EU authorities may also promote fire safety standards which allow solutions other than FR use. Discussions underlined the need to develop data on release of FRs from articles and so exposure and the need for EU standardised analysis methods to enforce regulation on restricted FRs in imported articles (<0.1%). Without such verification, EU industry will be penalised and problematic chemicals will be imported in articles meaning that the EU consumer and environment are not protected.
pinfa members also discussed ongoing work on inorganic FRs (regulatory questions around inhalation risk definitions), melamine compounds (see Q&A on www.pinfa.eu), recycling of polymers containing PIN FRs, smoke toxicity, monitoring of traces of organophosphorus FRs in the environment and training and education actions on PIN FRs in Europe, North America and China.