Decorative coatings: Monitoring closely

Indoor air quality, environmental footprint and substance risk assessment are currently among the key interests of the decorative coatings sector at CEPE. We have spoken to Rob Jans about the Technical Committee (TC) Decorative Coatings’ current projects.

Indoor air quality -

1. What issues and projects is the TC Decorative Coatings currently working on?

Rob Jans: Our Technical Committee of the decorative sector is working on various subjects which have direct relation to our market consisting of consumer and professional painters. The EU commission has started pilot projects to communicate the environmental impact to consumers of a variety of products, such as T-shirts, shoes and also decorative paints. We are contributing to this pilot study. The idea of the Commission is to create a clear indication of the products with respect to their environmental footprint, hence the name Product Environmental Footprint. This declaration takes all contributions into account i.e. from cradle to grave. It goes without saying that the lifetime and hence durability of the products are important drivers. Furthermore, the centralized notification to poison centers has our interest. From January 1 2020 a so-called Unique Formulation Identifier (UFI) should be present on the label of chemical mixtures for consumer use. Paints fall clearly in scope of this. The consequences of this UFI are discussed and shared in our group.

As Biocides come more and more under pressure, TC Deco has great interest in developments in this field. Actives for in can preservatives (PT6) and film preservation (PT7) are in a process of authorization, which has a high risk of banning actives which are essential for our use. In the case that PT6 and PT7 actives are banned, this will have tremendous effects on the shelf life of our products, as well as the durability. We are involved in the discussion which CEPE is having with the EU Commission DG GROW, DG ENVI and DG SANTE on this topic. In our meetings we receive updates of cross sector groups within CEPE such as SubRag, Biocides TF, Reach working group on SCEDs, Classification and Labeling Group. In the past meetings of TC Deco we were active in lobbying for workable criteria under EcoLabel. As the EcoLabel criteria have recently been issued and renewed, there is not much activity in this field at this moment. However, if and when the criteria will be reviewed again, representatives of TC Deco will contribute to the discussions. As a standard agenda item we review the implications of Reach. Substances of concern are being monitored and discussed. One of the substances which has our main interest at the moment is TiO2(titanium dioxide). At the moment there is a proposal of the French authorities at the table to classify TiO2 as a Carcinogenic Class IB by inhalation. If this comes true, although the TiO2in our paints is not in powdery form and hence cannot be inhaled, sales of decorative paints to consumers will no longer be possible. Hence we as a group monitor this development closely and team up with the Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association in defending this from happening.

2. Since last year the TC is also handling indoor air issues. What are the latest developments?

Jans: The taskforce dealing with IAQ has gone “dormant”. However, TC Deco is monitoring developments in the field of IAQ actively. In several areas, IAQ is becoming more and more of an issue. In schemes like BREEAM and LEEDS interest has risen for the contribution to the IAQ of materials used in construction of buildings. Although decorative paint is not a construction product, it might contribute to the quality of the indoor air. Moreover, in various European countries legislation is either in place, or emerging in this field. Best known are the schemes in France and Belgium (floor paints and varnishes only), but also the AggB scheme in Germany is known. Other countries are considering legislation in this direction for paints as well. It goes without saying that in the EU it would be preferred to have one EU legislation rather than a patchwork of conflicting local laws. CEPE is monitoring the developments in the Construction Product Regulation closely. If and when a scheme becomes available which makes sense to evaluate for Decorative Paints, we will discuss this with our members. Although decorative paint is not a construction product, we might evaluate schemes from e.g. the carpet industry. Moreover, TC Deco is monitoring the standardization of measurements in this field closely. The CEN 16402 norm was and is under great attention of this group. The conveyer of TC 139 is part of our TC and he reports on a regular basis on the latest developments.

3. The TC has decided to strengthen its involvements in CEPE’s substance risk assessment. What activities are planned?

Jans: During the last meeting of TC Deco, the parties around the table agreed that as a consequence of the responsibility to ensure a safe environment for our customers, it is important to take risk mitigating actions if more knowledge about the risk of our products and their raw materials becomes known. As we all know with the CORAP process under REACH, more and more information with respect to (health) risks of raw materials used by our industry will become known. CEPE wants to play a pro-active role here. Therefore, a Product Stewardship program has been adopted during the last General Assemblée to which the SubRAG (Substance Risk Assessment Group) activities are key. As deco represents a large part of the coatings business, TC deco members have agreed to contribute to the SubRAG group. In SubRAG, various substances, present in our raw materials, have been prioritized for risk assessment. Following this CEPE will recommend on the use of these substances to its members. The recommendations of SubRAG will serve as the basis of the Product Stewardship program of CEPE.

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