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Monday, 18 November 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Raw materials

What happens with titanium dioxide?

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Will titanium dioxide be classified? This question has been on the minds of the European coatings industry for a long time. The fact that there was no decision before the European elections is causing further delays. We spoke to Aline Rommert from the German coatings industry association (VdL) about the state of affairs.

What happens with titanium dioxide? Image source: Fotolia RAW - StockAdobe

What happens with titanium dioxide? Image source: Fotolia RAW - StockAdobe

The decision on the classification of titanium dioxide was without result. What does this mean for the paint and coatings industry?

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Aline Rommert, Technical Officer for Product Safety, Nanotechnology, REACH and CLP, VdL

Aline Rommert: Postponed is not cancelled: The Commission took the vote on the 14th ATP in the REACH Regulatory Committee off the agenda at short notice. It is unlikely that there would have been a qualified majority this time either. It is unclear what will happen next.

We have appealed to the Commission to abandon the classification of titanium dioxide and instead to press ahead with the harmonisation of dust limits in the workplace. This would improve occupational health and safety in Europe.

Is this a negative or positive development?

Rommert: More and more countries, companies and associations are expressing their criticism. This became clear during the public consultation, in which almost 500 stakeholders participated. More than 95% of the respondents criticised the classification of titanium dioxide as unsuitable and disproportionate.

In addition, many non-EU countries used the WTO notification to criticise the proposal as a trade barrier and to warn of a weakening of the international GHS system. On the positive side, a classification of liquid mixtures with titanium dioxide (e.g. inks, varnishes and printing inks) also seems to be off the table. The nonsensical proposal for warning labels for liquid mixtures has not disappeared.

What developments are expected and how will the VdL proceed?

Rommert: After the European elections, a new EU Commission can put the issue on the agenda again. It is generally expected that this will take place in an amended procedure ("delegated act"). The Commission itself can decide on a classification, but must first examine the social and economic impact of important projects. This would make it clear that the waste industry, plastics recycling or toys would be affected.

Five facts about titanium dioxide

Titanium Dioxide: Production, Properties and Effective Usage 2nd Revised Edition

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