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The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has warned there is little time to develop new control systems for assessing and approving biocidal products now the European Union’s (EU) biocides directive is in force.
Its legal authority has been in place since July 17 and the paint and coatings sector must comply with its terms as soon as September 1, next year warned ECHA. It will advise a new EU committee of national biocides experts, which will decide on whether biocide products can be sold in all member states. ECHA aims to mesh this work with its existing assessments for REACH and CLP (classification, labelling and packaging) rules. An ECHA note said: "Little time is left for that development”. ECHA Executive Director, Geert Dancet warned: "The new regulation means new challenges, new stakeholders and new types of experts to be recruited.” However, he added the tight timetable for creating a new control system was "a sign of trust in ECHA’s ability to perform, be it in difficult circumstances.”
Health risks assessed
Meanwhile, another EU agency – the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also been active in the health risks posed by coatings, in food packaging materials. For instance, it has assessed the safety of using monomer 1,3-bis(isocyanatomethyl)benzene to make a coating on poly(ethylene terephthalate) film used in food packaging. Given the coating is used as a middle layer of packaging within composite materials, EFSA concluded it did "not raise safety concerns” if the substance does not migrate into food at levels below 0.05mg/kg food.
Thin-film coating success
Elsewhere in the EU, the European Commission has hailed as a success an EU-funded research project, which it says has developed a new class of thin-film coatings with a wide range of mechanical, optical and electrical properties. A report on the ‘Hardecoat’ project said that participating scientists had developed a new range of coatings called "transition metal oxynitrides (TM-O-N)”. These, it said, combine "the strength of nitrides with the colours attainable using oxides”.
They have smart properties through the electrochromic properties of transition metal ingredients, for instance they can "change their optical properties in response to a small voltage…”
In addition they also can act as conductors or semiconductors. The project was co-ordinated by France’s Ecole Nationale Superieure de Mechanique et des Microtechniques de Besancon.