The Urethane Blog

Diisocyanates and REACH

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

On 7 October 2016, German REACH competent authorities submitted a restriction dossier to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) 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 applying for exemptions from this restriction.

Isopa, Alipa and its partner organisations, representing the majority of industrial and professional users of diisocyanates at European and national levels, 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 BAuA – the Federal Institute for occupational Safety and Health – in order to provide them with the most solid and relevant information during the development of the dossier.

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 diisocyanates producers – as well as different parties 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.

Going forward in the legislative process, a public consultation of six months will be launched by ECHA which allows for comments to 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.

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 is the Association of the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry
  • FSK is the Specialist Association of Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes
  • Industrieverband Klebstoffe 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