EU round up – Brussels drafts changes to VOC definition for EU paint ecolabel

18 May 2015

The European Commission has drafted revisions to the definition of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) used within the guidelines for awarding the EU ecolabel for paints and varnishes. In a new text, it has defined VOCs as ‘any organic compounds having an initial boiling point less than or equal to 250°C measured at a standard pressure of 101.3kPa and which, in a capillary column, are eluting up to and including n-Tetradecane (C14H30)’.

And as for SVOCs, ‘these are any organic compound having a boiling point greater than 250°C and less than 37ºC measured at a standard pressure of 101.3kPa and which, in a capillary column are eluting with a retention range after n-Tetradecane (C14H30) and up to and including n-Docosane (C22H46)’.

Any paints and coatings whose formula now falls outside the ecolabel, as a result of these changes, could continue to be sold with this label for 21 months after the new standards come into force.

Other EU regulatory news affecting the paints and coatings sector

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has launched practical guides on data sharing for companies selling biocides. The aim is to help companies comply with the EU biocidal products regulation’s requirement that, from September 1, biocide suppliers and their product type, must be listed on the law’s Article 95 list. See

• ECHA’s biocidal products committee (BPC) has approved the use in paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants of a biocide 5-chloro-2-methyl-2h-isothiazol-3-one and 2-methyl-2h-isothiazol-3-one (3:1) (C(M)IT/MIT). It is used as an in-can preservative.

The committee also approved the use of medetomidine as an anti-fouling biocide on boat and ship hulls, outdrives, outboard legs, propellers and stern gears, and submerged structures.

• A European Union (EU)-funded TransCond project has developed sprayable, transparent coatings and paints for protective uses in industrial work areas. They are cheaper, more efficient and healthier than conventional lines. The main achievement, according to a European Commission document, is a coating 10 times more conductive than conventional ones and developed for environments where static electricity might cause problems.

The project cost R1.13M, with R875,042 provided by the EU. There are four partner companies: UK-based Smithers Rapra Technology Ltd and TBA Electro Conductive Products Ltd, APT Archimedes Polymer Technologies Ltd in Cyprus, Kolor Mix SA from Poland, plus the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, Poland.

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