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Monday, 16 December 2019
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Markets & companies

Classification of titanium dioxide: decision postponed

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Europe-wide discussion about a classification of titanium dioxide as "presumably carcinogenic by inhalation" continues. If no qualified majority is reached at a meeting on 7 March, the decision would be placed in the hands of the new Commission after the European elections in autumn.

The paint, coatings and printing ink industry is the largest consumer of titanium dioxide. Almost 60 % of the pigment produced is used for paints and coatings.Source:kei u /stock.adobe.com
The paint, coatings and printing ink industry is the largest consumer of titanium dioxide. Almost 60 % of the pigment produced is used for paints a...

On Thursday, 14 February, the REACH Committee, which is responsible for chemicals legislation, broke off the several-hour consultations in Brussels in the evening. The topic has now been postponed to a special meeting of the REACH Regulatory Committee on 7 March. If no qualified majority is reached at this meeting, the decision would be placed in the hands of the new Commission after the European elections in autumn.

Participants at the meeting reported a serious and responsible debate on the sense and purpose of classification. Previously, some 500 submissions had raised concerns in the upstream consultation process. It is still unclear whether and how these doubts can be resolved by early March.

"This now gives the European Commission the opportunity to make up for the lack of assessment of the economic and social consequences," said Dr. Martin Engelmann, Managing Director of the German Paint Manufacturers Industry VdL, commenting on the results.

Engelmann emphasizes that titanium dioxide has been safely used in inks, coatings and printing inks for decades and is one of the best investigated substances at all. It would make more sense than classifying titanium dioxide to create a Europe-wide uniform limit value for dust that is difficult to dissolve in the workplace. A group of experts at the European Commission is already examining the creation of a harmonised European workplace limit value for such dusts. In addition, the Commission should have its Legal Service clarify whether the CLP Regulation even allows classification on the basis of particle effects that are not substance-specific. In this respect, the proposal is a precedent that requires prior legal clarification.

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