Regulation prompts shift to high weight phthalates in Europe: Cefic

30 September 2013 20:21  [Source: ICIS news]

BRUSSELS (ICIS)--There has been an overwhelming shift among European phthalate producers from low molecular weight to high molecular weight materials as a result of the regulatory framework in the region, a director of trade body European Chemical Industry Council Cefic said on Monday.

Upcoming restrictions, which will see the use or production of low molecular weight (LMW) phthalates without authorisation phased out by early 2015, have resulted in a huge shift in European production toward high molecular weight (HMW) products, according to Cefic advocacy director for petrochemistry Maggie Saykali.

Prior to the institution of REACH, LMW Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) had been the most common phthalate produced in Europe, but the balance has shifted overwhelmingly towards HMW phthalates, Saykali said at an event organised by the European Council of Plasticisers and Intermediates (ECPI) in Brussels.

LMW phthalates were judged by ECHA to qualify as a candidate for authorisation, meaning they will be phased out by the EU by February 2015 unless an application for authorisation is made and granted. The deadline for applications was August 2013, according to the ECPI.

HMW phthalates have been registered for REACH and do not require any classification for health or environmental effects and are not on the candidate list. HMW phthalates are used in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wire and cable applications, synthetic leather and PVC-coated fabrics, while LMW phthalates are used in medical devices, adhesives, cosmetics and medical devices.

According to Saykali, a number of applications have been made by European producers for authorisation to use LMW phthalates, predominantly DEHP.

Saykali added that DEHP was still the dominant phthalate in terms of global production, representing 50% of all phthalates produced worldwide.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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