Titanium Dioxide - The Facts
Powder coatings that contain more that 1% titanium dioxide will have to carry new warning labelling due to a change in classification. The new labelling requirements will be implemented by powder manufacturers by October this year, but what does this mean for applicators of powder coatings?
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring mineral used as a bright white pigment in powders used for architectural powder coating. It generally exists in three phases: anatase, brookite, and rutile, the rutile phase is primarily used in pigments for powder coating. Only 5% of the 2,328 colour shades of the RAL system are produced without titanium dioxide, which equates to approximately 119 pigments, so TiO2 must continue to be used for certain colour formulations in powder coating.
Back in March 2020 the EU designated that titanium dioxide is a category two, suspected carcinogen by inhalation, under the CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) Regulation EC No. 1272/2008. The new hazard classification is for titanium dioxide in powder form and powder mixtures containing more than 1% titanium dioxide particles with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 micrometers. Completed coatings which contain 1% or more titanium dioxide must also carry a hazard statement warning under EUH 212 "Warning! Hazardous respirable dust may be formed when used. Do not breathe dust."
To determine the extent of the issue, powder manufacturers have undertaken independent scientific research carried out by an independent, recognised institute on standard ground and ultra-fine ground powders. The study included reviewing the titanium dioxide-containing waste, as generated in the production and processing of the powder coatings. The aerodynamic diameter was determined using the "rotating drum method" (DIN EN 15051-2), which is recognised by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
The results of these independent tests show that the investigated powder coated products and their waste do not contain more than 1% by weight of titanium dioxide with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 μm. Even with the most finely grained powders in production waste, only 0.0081% titanium dioxide particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 μm was measured. This is about 120 times less than the limit value of 1% that will apply from October 2021. Based on these findings, powder coated products containing titanium dioxide do not meet the criteria for classification for mandatory labelling as laid down in the CLP Regulation.
Powder coated products which contain 1% or more titanium dioxide, must still be labelled with the above mentioned EUH phrase 212 "Warning! Hazardous respirable dust may be formed when used. Do not breathe dust."
QUALICOAT members are being advised to offer clear labelling on all products immediately to make customers aware of the classification and what additional health & safety precautions they need to put in place.
The next QUALICOAT UK & Ireland members meeting takes place online in June, please contact the General Secretary, Jan Lukaszewski, via the QUALICOAT UK & Ireland website, should you wish to attend. For details on the availability of various colours and finishes contact any QUALICOAT UK & Ireland member for more information. For updated information about the use and specification of QUALICOAT in the UK and Ireland, please visit the UK & Ireland Association website at www.qualicoatuki.org
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland with offices based in the Midlands is the National Association for QUALICOAT approved companies. QUALICOAT is a global quality label organisation committed to maintaining and promoting the quality of lacquering, painting and coating on aluminium and its alloys for architectural applications.
Please browse our website and should you have any questions about architectural powder coatings and the correct specification, please contact one of our local members or phone our office on the number below.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Chairman