Solvay has announced the opening of an innovation centre in Singapore. Located in Biopolis and occup

10 March 2014

Paint and coatings companies working in the European Union (EU) are expected to require special permission to use a significant ingredient after the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) decided it should be subject to the REACH system’s ‘authorisation’ procedure.

This highlights certain chemicals deemed of very high environmental health concern and which are used in large volumes. ECHA has now said that 4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)phenol, ethoxylated (4-tert-Octylphenol ethoxylates) (4-tert-OPnEO) be added to the EU authorisation list. There is concern that when it degrades, it becomes a substance with endocrine disrupting properties. The chemical is used for emulsion polymerisation within paints and coatings.

The European Commission will have the final say on which companies will need to receive authorisation and when. An ECHA note said: "authorisation makes sure that their risks are properly controlled and that the substances are progressively replaced with suitable alternative substances or technologies.”

Meanwhile, a Dutch company DCC Maastricht BV has applied for authorisation to use two chemicals that are already controlled under this REACH system. They are CI Pigment Yellow 34, which it wants to use for industrial paints used on metal surfaces such as machines, vehicles, signs and road furniture and CI Pigment Red 104, which the company wants to use as a distribution and mixing pigment powder to make non-consumer industrial solvent-based paints.

And in a related move, ECHA has released updated guidance on how it identified substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that can be made subject to the authorisation process. See

  • Meanwhile, elsewhere in the EU, the European Commission’s competition directorate general has started investigating a planned purchase by USA chemicals corporation Huntsman of three paints and coatings business arms from another USA firm, Rockwood Specialties Group. Huntsman wants to buy Rockwood’s titanium dioxide pigments (TiO2) and functional additives businesses, which operate under the name Sachtleben; Rockwood’s colour pigments business; and its timber treatment and wood protection chemicals business in North America. Brussels will assess whether the deal could damage competition in the EU.

    And finally, ECHA has sent legal warning letters to 46 chemical-based companies complaining that they failed to respond to requests for more information on their REACH registration dossiers for chemical intermediates.

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