US PU conference highlights VOC challenges in automotive use

28 September 2016 16:25 Source:ICIS News

Industry leaders, and not government regulators, need to develop worldwide standards for volatile organic compounds used in automotive applications, says two organizers of sessions at this week
Industry leaders, and not government regulators, need to develop worldwide standards for volatile organic compounds used in automotive applications, says two organizers of sessions at this week's Polyurethanes Technical Conference in Maryland. Representatives from nine chemical companies gave presentations about how they plan to minimise VOC emissions from their products. (Cultura/REX/Shutterstock)

BALTIMORE (ICIS)--Industry leaders, and not government regulators, need to develop worldwide standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in automotive applications, said two organizers of sessions at this week's Polyurethanes Technical Conference.

Dr Hamdy Khalil and Richard Rossio, committee members and organizers of the conference's automotive sessions, said that although most countries seek to regulate a similar list of chemicals in automotive applications, the allowable percentage of these chemicals can vary significantly between one country and the next.

They discussed some of the challenges facing the automotive industry in an interview with ICIS on Tuesday on the sidelines of the conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Khalil and Rossio stressed that the industry should be proactive in establishing a globally agreeable set of standards for regulating VOCs. The industry, they added, will be better off if it formulates and applies these standards of its own accord and without the necessity of governments imposing these standards through regulation. 

Efforts to properly regulate VOCs in automotive applications are still in their infancy, Khalil and Rossio said, and clinical tests to scientifically establish safety thresholds for various chemicals will be necessary before the industry can agree on a common set of standards.

The conference's automotive sessions had disappeared from the agenda three years ago, but have been revived and now are among the best-attended, Khalil and Rossio said. 

They stressed that the Center for the Polyurethane Industry (CPI) and the Polyurethanes Technical Conference, the biggest conference of its kind, have highlighted the importance of the automotive industry for polyurethanes. 

Khalil and Rossio said that participation by automotive manufacturers is essential to an industry-wide effort to bring forward more sustainable products.

This year, representatives from several automobile manufacturers were present at the conference and the organizers hope that this number can be raised in future conferences. 

In addition, representatives from nine different chemical companies gave presentations about how they plan to minimise VOC emissions from their products. Khalil and Rossio said these sessions were standing room only.

The 59th annual Polyurethanes Technical Conference is hosted by CPI of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). It runs through Wednesday.

INSET IMAGE: VOCs can be found in paint and many other areas of car manufacture. (WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock)

By Zachary Moore