Urethane product firms wary of MOCA bills

Mike McNulty
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: July 8, 2013 12:38 pm ET
Updated: July 8, 2013 12:40 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Materials, Materials Suppliers, Government & Legislation

LAS VEGAS — Another round of battles concerning the polyurethane curative methyl-bischloroaniline, commonly called MOCA, could be coming.

The European Union is moving ahead with REACH legislation that would ban MOCA in countries that adopt the EU regulations, according to Donald Gallo, legal counsel for the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association (PMA) and an attorney with the Waukesha, Wis.-based law firm of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C.

Meanwhile, the European Chemicals Agency has selected MOCA from its list of very high concern substances and recommended it for inclusion in Annex XIV, he said.

Should MOCA end up in Annex XIV, the curative would be banned without the authorization of the EU and other countries that adapt REACH legislation, he said at PMA's annual conference, held recently in Las Vegas.

There is fear within the association that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, via the Toxic Substance Control Act, and the Canadian government could adapt the REACH approach in banning the use of MOCA, according to Gallo.

At the very least, the REACH plan could "impose onerous restrictions at some point in the future on the way to an eventual ban," said Mike Kocak, the incoming president of the PMA and quality assurance manager of C.U.E. Inc., headquartered in Cranberry Township, Pa.

"We are very concerned because it threatens the use of a chemical that is important to our business, and … we are taking steps to develop information that addresses expressed and legitimate concerns that have been raised by the EU," Gallo said.

In addition, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists probably will lower the Threshold Limit Values/Short-Term Exposure Limits for TDI (toluene diisocyanate) to the point that monitoring badges currently in use will not be usable, Kocak said.

"Our concern is that lack of affordable, consistent individual monitoring that the badges provided may make the exposure situation worse, not better," he said.

PMA has developed programs for the safe use of MOCA in the US and Canada, including employee urinalysis monitoring for which the organization has between 30-40 years of monitoring data, Gallo said.

The programs include work surface swipe testing to address dermal contact and include information on proper protective clothing and ventilation in the work place.

Worker exposure can be minimized by following the PMA's suggested safe work practices, Kocak advised.

Because of the economics of other curatives and the properties of MOCA, "we feel the need to protect MOCA as a curative for the sake of the castable polyurethane industry," according to Gallo.

If the cost of castable polyurethane increases, the PMA's legal counsel said, the markets will adjust and demand may decrease.

"We have conducted tests on articles (or finished parts) made from castable polyurethane and have found the levels of free MOCA in a fully cured article to be quite low and well within acceptable levels over quite a range of curing methods and cure times," Gallo said.

PMA plans on providing information to regulators that demonstrates "best management practices can be used and are currently being used to protect employees and the community," he said.

Not long after the PMA was formed in the early 1970s, the use of MOCA was threatened by government agencies that attempted to ban the polyurethane curative.

The trade association took on EPA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and other entities and won numerous battles that followed.


Comments

Urethane product firms wary of MOCA bills

Mike McNulty
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS

Published: July 8, 2013 12:38 pm ET
Updated: July 8, 2013 12:40 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

EPA sets new rule for phthalate DnPP

December 24, 2014 11:25 am ET

A federal agency has issued new regulations for a phthalate used in PVC production.    More

Image

European polymer firms may face more pressure from US shale

December 24, 2014 9:57 am ET

InterBulk Group plc, the publicly-traded logistics group, has warned that European polymer markets would continue to come under pressure from new...    More

Image

Cuba a question mark for US plastics

December 23, 2014 6:00 am ET

Fans of cigars, rum, Caribbean travel and more than a few Major League Baseball managers celebrated at the White House announcement of plans to...    More

Image

Patents the springboard for Aussie company to play on global stage

December 22, 2014 4:19 pm ET

Obtaining patents on its technology is helping an Australian manufacturer of compostable and biodegradable plastic resins becoming a leading player...    More

Image

Swedish compounder makes first North American plastics acquisition

December 22, 2014 10:19 am ET

Swedish rubber compounder Hexpol AB has made its first North American plastics acquisition, buying the plastics compounding business of RheTech Inc. f...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events