Industry Sector News
Euro Chlor Chair forms part of Halogens Industry Sector Board
Euro Chlor is one of 10 Sector Groups operating within the Halogens Industry Sector in Cefic. This brings together a group of inorganic basic chemicals that are essential building blocks in a multitude of products. Euro Chlor Management Committee Chair Wouter Bleukx represents Euro Chlor on the new Halogens Industry Sector Board to help integrate the Halogens Sector Groups within Cefic. Jacques Sturm of Vynova was unanimously elected as the first Chair of this Board. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chloro Alkanes, Sodium Chlorate, Potassium and Chloroformates Sector Groups raise awareness on their priorities
Following on from an EU REACH proposal to list MCCP as a Substance of Very High Concern, and a UNEP Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants nomination, the Chloro Alkanes Sector Group has held a series of briefings with global stakeholders to explain the potential implications for this chemistry going forwards.
The Sodium Chlorate Sector Group has been informing the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on their proposal to change the classification of this useful industrial chemical.
Meanwhile, the Potassium Sector Group has built its own ‘tree’ that describes some of the uses of potassium hydroxide and its products.
Finally, the Chloroformate Sector Group has released its advice document on how to safely handle, transport and store drums of this important intermediary chemical. They will now start work on a document focussing on emergency response.
European Chlorinated Solvents Association (ECSA)
ECSA nominates new Management Committee Chair
In September 2020, Thorsten Schulz of Nobian replaced Neil Rosenburgh of Inovyn, as chair of the European Chlorinated Solvents Association (ECSA).
ECSA updates two key documents – PER in a Nutshell and Recommendations for Cleaning Machines: ECSA has added its updated Information sheets on perchloroethylene in six extra languages – French, Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish – to complement the English version updated in May 2020 and reflect the latest information for perchloroethylene. ECSA also updated its Recommendations for Cleaning Machines for the use of chlorinated solvents.
Over the past year ECSA has focused on the following key regulatory and technical highlights:
EC Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Regulation
In March 2020, the European Commission published the results of its evaluation on the Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) Regulation. Substances supported by ECSA and listed on the ODS Regulation are carbon tetrachloride (CTC; Annex I, restrictions and reporting) and methyl chloride (MeCl; Annex II, reporting only, no restrictions). ECSA is closely following the discussion and attended a Stakeholder workshop in January 2021 as part of the impact assessment for amending the regulation. The member companies submitted consolidated comments via ECSA to the EC.
UBA PMT approach
Perchloroethylene (PER) is considered to be persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) under criteria set by Germany’s Umweltbundesamt (UBA, the German Federal Environment Agency). The PMT criteria could be used to identify substances of very high concern (SVHC) for inclusion in the candidate list for authorisation under REACH, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). An EU Science Committee identified PMT substances as one of 14 emerging issues that could impact human health or the environment in the future. ECSA has argued that a risk-based approach should be taken, particularly as PER is used in closed systems with negligible risk of environmental emissions. ECSA has shared its position with Cefic, national industry associations and EU and national authorities and is closely following the scientific and regulatory discussions.
The highly influential MAK Commission (Germany) has published its lists of revised and new substance assessments and coming revisions. Chloroform is on the list of revised substances but without any changes to the previous assessment, and Dichloromethane is still on the list of coming revisions (since 2019).
ECSA is currently working on the ESAD chlorinated solvents questionnaire revision along with the Cefic SQAS team. The much-simplified questionnaire will become official in 2022 for assessing the product stewardship performance of chlorinated solvents distributors.
EFCTC (European FluoroCarbons Technical Committee)
EFCTC is continuing its intense work to combat illegal imports of HFCs/ refrigerants into the EU. This involves an ongoing investigation until the end of the year, enforcement webinars and an intense PR and PA campaign.
The F-gas Regulation revision is planned for 2022 and the group is screening the regulation to identify loopholes and gaps, as well as working on the Environmental Crime Directive. EFCTC is also discussing the ODS Regulation revision.
Eurofluor (CTEF, Comité Technique Européen du Fluor)
Eurofluor keeps its strong focus on ensuring the safe production, use, handling, storage and transport of hydrofluoric acid (HF). Work on the internal exchange of best practices for safer industry behaviour also continues. In particular, the group is enhancing the internal exchanges on matters like detection systems and PPE.
ESA (European Sulphuric Acid Association)
ESA is the Cefic Sector Group bringing European sulphuric acid stakeholders together and full members are producers of SO2, sulphuric acid or oleum through the conversion of SO2 to SO3. ESA associate members are, amongst others, chemical companies using sulfuric acid in their processes, and trade companies, transport and distribution companies and recyclers with an interest in sulphuric acid.
Over the past year, ESA has focused its efforts on dealing with some harmonised classification issues, in collaboration with the relevant REACH consortia.
Fluorinated Products and PFAS for Europe (FPP4EU)
In 2021, Cefic formed a new Sector Group, Fluorinated Products and PFAS for Europe (FPP4EU), with 13 members whose goals are to connect with authorities, NGOs, academics, and the supply chain to address the challenges associated with PFAS.
The group is currently working on:
- How PFAS could be best defined
- Proposing relevant elements for grouping PFAS in a scientific, realistic, and enforceable way
- Collecting information on responsible manufacturing processes, emission reduction and analytical methods
The aim is to provide input to help the authorities develop the most efficient REACH restriction for the complex group of PFAS chemicals targeted.
FPP4EU also set up a Collaboration Platform with a variety of downstream users of the PFAS chemistry. This platform will be instrumental in informing the authorities on all types of uses of PFAS, the complexity of the value chain and the hurdles to develop alternatives. In addition, they will deliver key elements for future discussions around essential uses.