European Chemicals Agency maps high-volume plastic additives

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Photo by Luxus List currently available on ECHA website

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), in partnership with industry bodies including the EuPC and EuMBC, has gathered a list of more than 400 substances used in the EU as additives in plastics.

The listing is based on the technical functions of additives and data provided by the industry on substances manufactured or imported above 100 tonnes per year.

The list, currently available on the ECHA website, covers substances used as antioxidants, antistatics, flame retardants, nucleating agents, plasticisers, pigments, heat stabilisers, and UV/light stabilisers.

Information on the polymer types which most commonly have additives and the expected concentration ranges is also provided.

The project to map the high-volume additives was launched in 2016 and was carried out in cooperation with 21 industry sectors, including both additive manufacturers and downstream users.

The work included the development of a methodology for comparing the potential of additives to be released from plastic articles during their use.

The project aims to assist the industry in identifying what use and exposure information is relevant to determine safe use for substances in articles and hence trigger a need for updating their registration dossiers.

Member states and ECHA can prioritise which additives should be subject to an evaluation based on data available on their hazard potential and other information.

“The key learnings and takeaways from this project are an improved communication across the supply chain and a further demonstration of the need for strong cooperation between different stakeholders, including authorities, in order to generate reliable data on plastics additives and uses,” said Marc Cornu, president of the European Masterbatchers and Compounders association (EuMBC).

 

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