The recent classification and labeling (CLH) recommendation by the European Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) of styrene as "CMR2" (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction) is a clear signal for the composites industry to start investigating substitute technologies. Following a strong interest from customers and OEMs for styrene-free solutions, DSM (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) says it is determined to provide the composites industry leading-edge performance and innovation for sustainability. For that purpose, DSM has introduced a full range of trademarked Atlac Premium styrene-free resins that offers a viable alternative for many applications.
During the first week of December, the RAC adopted fifteen opinions for harmonized classification and labeling (CLH), including one for styrene monomer. The RAC agreed with the proposal from Denmark to classify styrene as “causing damage to the hearing organs through prolonged or repeated exposure via inhalation”, and as “a substance suspected of damaging the unborn child (Reprotox 2)”. The final decision for proposals for harmonized classification and labeling, and other proposals, will be taken by the European Commission through a committee procedure.
There has been a lot of interest for styrene-free resins in applications such as relining, marine, automotive, food and construction, says the company. DSM is actively working on the development of such resin systems, and already launched last year a full range of Atlac Premium styrene-free resins.
“The discussion about the hazardous properties of styrene has been ongoing for decades and still has to reach a conclusion. So we need to be realistic about the pace of change”, says Robert Puyenbroek, chief technical officer of DSM Composite Resins. “However, once a viable styrene-free technology becomes available, the likelihood that our customers will want to implement such a sustainable solution will definitely increase.”
“It is fair to say that the new proposed CMR2 reclassification is a very important milestone towards creating an environment where more efforts will need to be undertaken to develop cleaner, more sustainable materials”, adds Fons Harbers”, European commercial director for DSM Composite resins. “DSM is well positioned to offer our customers styrene-free products that combine performance and reduce impact on the environment.”