TOFA exempted from REACH?

European manufacturers of tall oil fatty acids (TOFA) – a chemical produced from the byproduct of the pulp and paper manufacture, are hoping to have the product exempted from Europe’s chemical regulation REACH (registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemical substances).

The Hydrocarbon Resins, Rosin Resins and Pine Chemicals Producers Association (HARRPA) said that TOFA and certain salts should be exempted based on their interpretation of the REACH text. Manufacturers involved in this petition include Arizona Chemical, DRT, Forchem and Kemira. Their arguments include:

  • That TOFA is naturally-sourced
  • That TOFA is not chemically modified
  • It is not included in REACH’s dangerous substance list
  • It is a natural fatty acid

The EU’s REACH legislation is giving lots of headaches to chemical manufacturers worldwide. An article from ICIS news* last month reported the possibility of many small and medium sized chemical companies forced to go out of business because they might not be able to reach the first Reach registration deadline due on December 1, 2009.

The first high-volume products, whether produced in the EU or imported into the region, have to be registered by 1 December 2010.

A study* from John Hopkins University estimated that animal testing of substances registered under REACH will cost $13.6bn (€9.5bn) over the next ten years, rather than the $2.3bn estimated by the EU when the programme was drafted.

One thing to note is that it will sure make it easier for chemical companies (and their customers) to overcome this kind of legislation if their products are based on renewable feedstock or already incorporating green chemistry principles.

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[Image of TOFA from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville]





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