CEPE highlights threat to the availability of preservatives

Industry is increasingly concerned that the current EU regulations and review processes are leading to more preservatives being phased out and no new products are being approved to take their place.

Several cans of lacquer of different colours with brushes lying on top.
Promain is the UK’s largest distributor of industrial paints and surface coatings.  SebastianDuda - Fotolia.com (symbol image).

As CEPE points out in a statement, preservatives are important in extending the useful life of products such as consumer paints and inks, which are waterborne. Without preservatives, the presence of water allows microorganisms to grow, causing damage to the coating product in the can or to the finished coated surface. This would lead to an increase in wasted product and a need for more frequent repainting—directly contradicting the EU’s green and circular ambitions.

Christel Davidson, Managing Director of CEPE said: “The current regulations have created a lengthy and costly system where manufacturers of preservatives rarely bring new substances to the market. In addition, a new review program is leading to a reduction in the number of existing preservatives. The situation is now reaching a breaking point.”

More holistic approach

CEPE is urging regulators to amend requirements of the Biocidal Product Regulation (BPR), which governs authorisation and use of preservatives. As a first and immediate step, allowing risk assessment at the product authorisation stage should be made possible. This should overall lead to a more holistic approach to impact assessments, contributing to a better decision-making process and avoid de-facto bans.

“The current regulations are simply not fit for purpose, and we face the very real risk of having no preservatives available for key products like paints, printing inks and artists` colors,” Davidson said. “Reports have already shown the urgent need to revise the Biocidal Products Regulation. We need action now to make sure that manufacturers can continue to supply existing preservatives, so that our members can continue to make properly-preserved paints and inks, while encouraging the innovation and development of new preservatives for the future.”

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