The Solvent Emissions Directive 1999 is environmental legislation that applies to new processes now and to existing processes by October 2007. It is aimed at controlling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and may lead to less commonly used solvents, including those with the potential to cause significant harm to people (e.g. inorganic solvents such as those based on fluoroborates), being more widely used.
- Does the use of alternative solvents bring increased potential health risks and is there the need for appropriate control measures to be explored, clarified and communicated?
- The Directive is also likely to lead to alternative technologies. Might these give rise to new issues and areas of concern that need to be evaluated?
- Will new assessment methodologies be needed and good practice controls identified?
- If so what are the highest priority areas that need to be investigated?
- For example automotive paints: The Directive is likely to restrict the use of solvent based (cellulose) paints and the probable alternatives giving adequate performance and finish are based on isocyanate technology (~ 40% solvent) or UV – curable technology (no solvent). Isocyanates give rise to a risk of asthma and dermatitis if exposures are not well controlled; UV-curable materials are currently based on complete polyfunctional acrylates that can cause severe dermatitis.
- Exposure evaluation and good practice control for isocyanates have been looked at but is there a need to investigate the development of suitable methodologies for assessing exposure (all routes), risk and good practice control for acrylates (possibly based on the functional group rather than any individual substance)?