The spring meeting of the HSE group in May was canceled and replaced by a web conference. Thanks to our office in Brussels, it went very well.
The corona outbreak will have a tremendous impact on the lubes business, especially for fluids used in production such as metalworking fluids (MWF). Some fear that MWF could become contaminated with high doses of the virus, but this is highly unlikely. Viruses cannot grow without host organisms, and MWF contain emulsifiers and alkaline substances to which the virus is sensitive. Today, for hygiene reasons, hands must be washed often with skin care products after cleaning to protect the skin from damage, otherwise certain chemicals, including lubricants, could cause dermatitis.
In 2020, the European Commission is expected to decide on the 16th Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) of the CLP Regulation. This includes the change in the concentration limit for boric acid from 5.5% to 0.3% for classification of a mixture as “toxic for reproduction, 1B”. Today, some MWF concentrates and emulsions contain boric acid, but in concentrations below 5.5% and above 0.3%. When the ATP comes into force (18 months after the decision/publication), formulators are required to review their current classification.
Another subject of discussion was the introduction of “interchangeable component groups” (ICG) into the requirements of Annex VIII, which concerns the submission of information to the poison centres. If the European Commission decides, together with the industry, to introduce the ICGs, companies may use ICG instead of certain substances. This makes it easier to submit the information and reduces the overall number of submissions in case of formulation changes.