Paint Industry Urges EU: Reject Proposed Titanium Dioxide Carcinogen Classificat
The paint and coatings industry has called on the European Commission and Echa to reject a proposal to classify titanium dioxide as a carcinogen (category 2) by inhalation.
If adopted, companies would have to label some consumer and professional products – such as paints – in a manner that will cause "major and unnecessary alarm to users and consumers", the British Coatings Federation says.
The proposed classification is based on evidence of carcinogenicity for titanium dioxide in the form of dust. Under CLP companies would have to label some products containing it as "suspected of causing cancer". But the BCF says this is unnecessary when the dust is suspended in a liquid.
Echa's Risk Assessment Committee (Rac) expects to publish its Opinion in early September.
If the Commission and Echa do not "see sense and reject" it, the BCF says it will "push to break the link between this opinion and the requirement to label paint products with 'suspected of causing cancer' labels".
It is raising the issue in a letter to Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which will be signed by industry CEOs and other supply chain organisations.
European paints and inks trade body, Cepe, says that the proposed classification of titanium dioxide under CLP is not justified. "The hazard identified is not a substance specific effect, a chemical effect [or...] a shape effect," technical director Didier Leroy says. He adds that governments do not need legislation to communicate that "too much dust is not good for you" and that "hundreds of dusts’" could be classified similarly.
Cepe wrote to the Commission in mid-May to raise concerns over the scope of CLP, which Mr Leroy says "has limitations when it comes to communicating hazard, especially for consumer products".
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says it understands industry's concerns. However, it adds, classification under CLP and GHS reflects the type and severity of the intrinsic hazards of a substance or mixture.
"It should not be confused with risk, which relates to the actual exposure of humans or the environment to the substance or mixture displaying this hazard in specific circumstances, such as when a paint containing titanium dioxide is applied by brush, roller or by spraying."
The UK government says it will continue to seek to influence the Commission's fitness check of chemicals legislation, excluding REACH, but this work will be affected by activities relating to the country leaving the EU.
Later this year, and after publication of the Rac Opinion, the Commission is expected to make a decision on whether dust is within the scope of CLP. The REACH Committee is slated to discuss the topic at a meeting in 2018.
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