As European Union (EU) regulators and manufacturers prepare for the 2017 REACH sunset date on the polyurethane curative MbOCA (MOCA), Jane Denny outlines the history of its use globally and considers its replacements.
EU businesses using MbOCA will be forced to stop production unless they can persuade the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to allow each individual use.
An ECHA report admits there are no viable alternatives to MbOCA. Industry acknowledges there are alternative curing products available but products made with them will not have as good properties, industry claims.
Abid Dost, health safety and environment director of the British Rubber and Polyurethane Products Association (BRPPA), said MbOCA-based polyurethanes elastomers are ideal in numerous applications in engineering due to their outstanding properties such as hardness, resilience, electrical resistance as well resistance to harsh atmospheric conditions and oil and chemical attack. Examples of their use include escalator rollers in London’s underground system, gravel pipelines in mining and wheels for hospital trolleys.
It was in 2011 that MbOCA was named in the ECHA Annex XIV document as a material that “may cause cancer.”
The appearance of MbOCA in the Annex XV document that followed prohibits its use by EU companies beyond November 2017, unless the individual companies using 1 tonne/year or more secure authorisation for its use from REACH by 22 May,…