The entire polyurethane industry chain must ``pull together in the face of chemical regulations emerging from Brussels in the next two years.''
That was the keynote message from Reinhard Leppkes, head of Elastogran GmbH and president of ISOPA, the European Isocyanates Producers Association, at the opening session of the Utech conference March 25 in The Hague.
Leppkes' address focused on the regulations, which ``will affect the prosperity of our industry for decades to come,'' he said. His message was aimed as much at small processors as the major suppliers of chemicals to the urethanes industry.
``The emerging EU regulations may require testing in end-use applications for products to continue to be used,'' Leppkes said. He called for everyone to prepare risk-assessment data on their products ahead of the regulations.
``We have to seize the initiative. Waiting for others is not an option,'' he said. He highlighted ISOPA's work in establishing data on the chemicals used in the urethanes industry in anticipation of the European Union regulations.
``No data, no industry,'' said Leppkes, adding that the industry group aims to provide ``too much data rather than too little.''
For Uta Jensen-Korte, director of chemicals policy/regulatory affairs with the European Chemical Industry Association, ``The devil is in the detail and in how the regulations are implemented.''
She highlighted a range of industry concerns over the EU proposals, including whether intermediates and polymers will be exempted.
More generally, she said the council wants environmental regulators to take account of the potential impact on the competitiveness of the European chemicals industry.