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A NEW REGULATION FOR DIISOCYANATES  

On August 4th, 2020, a new restriction on diisocyanates was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (2020/1149). 

The aim of this new EU Regulation is to enhance the protection of workers and to ensure the application of best practices across the EU in terms of health and safety. It targets respiratory and dermal sensitisation that can potentially be caused by diisocyanates and requires new minimum training prior to the use of diisocyanates and mixtures containing diisocyanates. 

The restriction provides a transition period of three years from its entry into force for compliance with the requirements. 

Bostik is acting for safe products and safe use by operators. We welcome this important and positive step to enhance and harmonize the level of protection given to workers handling diisocyanates across Europe. 

CONSEQUENCES FOR INDUSTRIAL & PROFESSIONAL USERS 

Mandatory training for operators 

By August 24th 2023, your staff will need to be trained and certified in how to handle products containing diisocyanates safely. This will apply to all professional and industrial users of products with a total monomeric diisocyanate concentration above 0.1% by weight. 

The type of training will depend on the risk level of the application. Three risk levels (general, intermediate and advanced) have been defined, mainly based on toxicity hazards of products supplied and risk of exposure during use. Training must be renewed at least every five years. 

Training material provided by the FEICA, Bostik to share regular updates and guidance 

Our EU association, FEICA, in coordination with ISOPA and ALIPA, the diisocyanate manufacturers’ industry associations, is preparing a comprehensive package of training materials for use by its members and by adhesive or sealant users. We expect it to be available as of February 2022, early enough for all users of PU products to be trained and certified by the required date. 

Meanwhile, such products will need to carry a phrase on the label from February 24th, 2022, indicating the requirement for training. 

TIMELINE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REGULATION 

  • February 2022 (expected): FEICA will issue a training program which Bostik will share with any company using its PU products 
  • By 24th February 2022: concerned Bostik products packaging will bear the words “Adequate training is required before industrial use is allowed”  
  • August 2023: all workers will be required to receive the adequate training. Employers will need to provide a training certificate as evidence.  
As an engaged member, we will share regular updates with our customers on the training availability progress.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT DIISOCYANATES AND THE REGULATION 

Are diisocyanates safe? 

As with any chemical substance, the use of diisocyanates is safe when handled according to appropriate risk management and relevant safety measures. It is also important to highlight that virtually no diisocyanates can be found in finished articles/products. Diisocyanates are used as reactive chemicals; they react with the polyol to form polyurethane and are used up during the reaction. 

 
What is respiratory sensitisation? 

Sensitisation is caused when after exposure, a person could become allergic to the substance that they have been exposed to. Once sensitized, each time the person is in contact with the substance (even at very low concentrations) the person could have an acute allergic reaction with respiratory impacts (e.g. asthma). The majority of individuals with diisocyanate-related asthma show improvement or total recovery after exposure has ceased. 

 
Which substances are impacted by the restriction?  

Restriction applies to all diisocyanates (TDI, MDI …) and products (Polyurethanes for flexible packaging lamination, polyurethanes for textile lamination, polyurethane foams, polyurethane sealants…) that can contain monomeric diisocyanates at a total level above 0.1% weight.
 

What are the responsibilities? 

Bostik shall ensure that the recipients get the training material and courses (…) in the official language(s) of the Member State(s) where the substance(s) or mixture(s) are supplied.  

The employer or self-employed (you) shall document the successful completion of the training (…), and ensure that the training is renewed at least every five years. 

Member States will be in charge of gathering any established training certifications, and maintain an inventory of the number of cases of reported and recognized occupational diseases in relation to diisocyanates. 
 

I am a reseller/distributor. What do I need to do? 

Pass the information you receive from Bostik on to your customers.  
 

What about PU products for consumer use? 

The new regulation only applies to professionals and industry. A separate restriction for consumer use came into force several years ago. 
 

Will PU adhesives and sealants remain on the market? 

The regulation aims at avoiding unsafe handling of diisocyanates, not on restricting product availability. Due to their unique properties in many applications, PU adhesives and sealants will remain widely available. 
 

How the regulation impact will be monitored? 

To demonstrate the health & safety improvement over the years, Member States will have to report on progress & the foreseen positive impact of this regulation.  
 

Whom should I contact if I have questions? 

Your Bostik sales representative will help you with any product-related questions, with the support of our Product Stewardship & Regulatory Affairs experts. 
 

Where can I find more information about diisocyanates? 

The diisocyanates industry provides information about diisocyanates and their safe handling on its website http://www.safeusediisocyanates.eu/ 

 

FEICA’s communication is available in 6 European languages at: https://www.feica.eu/our-priorities/safe-use-diisocyanates

About Bostik, an Arkema company 

Bostik is a leading global adhesive specialist in construction, consumer and industrial markets. For more than a century, it has been developing innovative adhesive solutions that are smarter and more adaptive to the forces that shape daily lives. From cradle to grave, from home to office, Bostik’s smart adhesives can be found everywhere. With €2 billion annual sales in 2018, the company employs more than 6,000 people and has a presence in more than 50 countries. For the latest information, visit www.bostik.com .  

About Arkema

A designer of materials and innovative solutions, Arkema shapes materials and creates new uses that accelerate customer performance. Our balanced business portfolio spans high-performance materials, industrial specialties and coating solutions. Our globally recognized brands are ranked among the leaders in the markets we serve. Reporting annual sales of €8.8 billion in 2018, we employ approximately 20,000 people worldwide and operate in close to 50 countries. We are committed to active engagement with all our stakeholders. Our research centres in North America, France and Asia concentrate on advances in bio-based products, new energies, water management, electronic solutions, lightweight materials and design, home efficiency and insulation. www.arkema.com