Sudden and Costly Challenge to Coatings Industry...Forum hears how Valspar is ready...

American expert on how canmakers lost the PR battle over BPA

Dr Peter Mayr, Valspar's European Regulatory Affairs Manager gave a keynote speech to the 2013 Aerosols Forum. As a background to the shake up in coatings, he said that to date BPA has been used in huge quantities. Valspar manufactures approximately 200,000 tonnes of coatings and is a global market leader in coatings for light metal packaging.
As well as the changing regulatory scene for any food contact chemicals the cosmetics industry was also affected by regulation 1223/2009 with reference to cosmetics and what is not allowed, this change being implemented in July 2013. In China rules will come in at the end of 2013 listing 1,200 substances not allowed to be used.

He said the industry wants to satisfy food contact legislation, especially with reference France. Firstly, a few countries in Europe including France have suspended BPA for food packaging for infants and the French are to go further in 2015 suspending BPA in all food packaging.
In the medium term he said “We will see situation where there are two different standards: Europe and Europe with France.”
Meanwhile in food safety terms, the US FDA actually say BPA is perfectly safe within the set limits.
(As a historic comment he added that BPA was invented in St Petersburg and 40 years later was tested as a synthetic hormone to treat to pregnant women to prevent miscarriages, however BPA was found not to be potent enough.)
Dr Mayr said about 3% of BPA worldwide goes into epoxy-resins for coatings...for a typical can, 70% of the dryfilm is polymerised BPA. And at present 80% of the world’s interior protective coatings for light metal packaging are BPA based. “Suddenly we have had to look at something that affects 80% of our technology.”

He outlined the three chemicals that the coatings industry had to deal with: BPA/NMP and melamine.
NMP (identified as a reproductive toxin, first by California in 2001 and then by the European Commission in 2003) If you pour this solvent onto your hand it migrates through the skin...and if a coating is not properly cured and then used in cosmetics, this chemical could get into the body and perhaps affect subsequent children.
The other topic is melamines, used to cure some coatings. Unfortunately Dr Mayr said some bad people in China put this into milk to give an artificially inflated protein content. Six babies died as a consequence. “Many customers now say to us, please make sure this is not in our packaging and doesn't appear in labelling.”
“The impact of all these three means Valspar has been conducting toxicology tests on those substances that might be substitutes and getting them onto lists of allowable substances. We have been researching chemicals we think are going to be the future. We have invested heavily and have already got 20 new chemicals on the FDA approved list. In the US the heavy investment does lead to a competitive advantage in that only those who put the chemicals on the list can use is not the same in Europe. If you put a chemical on the list in the EU, everyone can use it.
“We at Valspar have 200 research chemists working on alternatives to BPA/NMP and melamine, we have also used external universities to help come up with fresh ideas. We now have excellent non-NMP, non-melamine and non-BPA coatings.
We have one coating that is almost 'non-detectable'. A lot of the work is trade secret and being patented, but the new coatings are available to clients provided a non-disclosure agreement is entered into.”

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