EU TiO2 makers require clarity, common approach for carcinogen classification implementation

Author: Heidi Finch

2020/02/10

LONDON (ICIS)--European titanium dioxide (TiO2) producers are hoping to get more clarity on the upcoming EU classification of the material as a carcinogen in inhalable powder form.

The Europe-wide trade group Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) said to ICIS on Monday that the classification needs a consistent and common approach across the EU’s 27 countries.

TiO2 producers also said that waste disposal concerns also need to be addressed during the  implementation period.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive body – will publish in coming days its classification for TiO2, which will take effect 20 days after publication in the EU’s Official Journal.

This will be followed by a 18-month implementation period.

The Commission’s therefore will make law the recommendation on TiO2 issued by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in 2017.

TiO2 will be classified as carcinogen in powder form, and there will be labelling and handling requirements for certain liquid and mixture forms.

According to Brett Pinker, spokesperson for the TDMA, said that despite the upcoming  regulation’s approval there are some areas that need to be addressed or clarified.

"Our priority is to make a good understanding related to this classification so there is some consistency in the implementation,” said Pinker.

He also referred to how other similar substances to TiO2 could also be implicated by this regulation.

Waste disposal is an area where further clarification is required, he added, and whether the hazardous waste disposal applies only to waste containing 1%, or more, TiO2 in powder form.

While liquid paints and mixtures are exempt from the carcinogen classification, they have additional labelling requirements, said Pinker, but these may have waste implications.

The TDMA's concern is that the interpretation is not clear because classification and waste disposal do not normally take into account the form of the product.

If the consequences of waste disposal were to not be limited to TiO2 waste in powder form, this could have significant repercussions for the construction sector, among others, according to the TDMA.

“We need a clear interpretation of the classification, a common understanding between the powder and mixtures, the clock is ticking," said Pinker.

The European Commission was not immediately available for comment at the time of writing.

TDMA had found support in the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament (EP).

The centre-right group had presented an objection against the Commission's classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) for TiO2, but it failed to gain majority support in the EP’s environment committee or at the EP'S plenary meeting.

The European Parliament’s extended objection period ended in early February.

Front page picture: Paints - a key end market for TiO2 - at a shop
Source: Manfred Bail/imageBROKER/Shutterstock 

Focus article by Heidi Finch