Safe use of diisocyanates
Polyurethane (PU) adhesives and sealants
On 4 August 2020, a new restriction on diisocyanates was adopted by the European authorities under REACH, targeting respiratory and dermal sensitisation potentially caused by diisocyanates. FEICA's PU Restriction Technical Working Group (TWG) therefore created a leaflet titled 'A safe future for polyurethane products' to explain more about the restriction. The new restriction requires training prior to use for diisocyanates.
In support of our National Association members, the leaflet has already been made available in 8 European languages. All these version are available below:
- A safe future for polyurethane products (English, FEICA)
- A safe future for polyurethane products (English, in cooperation with BASA)
- Eine sichere Zukunft für Polyurethan-Produkte (German, in cooperation with IVK and DB)
- Un avenir sûr pour les produits en polyuréthane (French, in cooperation with AFICAM)
- Un avenir sûr pour les produits en polyuréthane (French, in cooperation with DETIC)
- Un futuro seguro para los productos de poliuretano (Spanish, in cooperation with ASEFCA)
- Bezpieczna przyszłość produktów poliuretanowych (Polish, in cooperation with PZPFiK)
- Un futuro all’insegna della sicurezza per I prodotti poliuretanici (Italian, in cooperation with AVISA)
- Een veilige toekomst voor polyurethaanproducten (Dutch, in cooperation with VLK)
- Een veilige toekomst voor polyurethaanproducten (Dutch, in cooperation with DETIC)
- Varna uporaba izdelkov iz poliuretana (Slovenian, in cooperation with GZS)
PU adhesives and sealants are versatile, innovative and safe.
PU adhesives and sealants are used in a wide variety of applications in construction, packaging, automotive, furniture, engineering, marine, transportation, and many more. PU products are made by reacting diisocyanates and polyols.
As of 24 August 2023, training is required for all professional and industrial users of products with a total monomeric diisocyanate concentration of > 0.1%. To this end, FEICA, together with ISOPA and ALIPA, the diisocyanate manufacturers’ industry associations, is preparing training material for use by its members and by adhesive or sealant users.
The training material is expected to be made available as of February 2022, early enough for all users of PU products to be trained and certified by 24 August 2023. In addition, the legal requirements should appear on packaging as of 24 February 2022.
For more information, please refer to our dedicated PU info webpage.
Below are some frequently asked questions on the safe use of polyurethane products, answered.
Like any substance, diisocyanates’ use is safe when chemicals are handled according to relevant risk management and safety measures. It is also important to stress that virtually no diisocyanates can be found in finished articles. Diisocyanates are only used as reactive chemicals; they react with the polyol to form the PU product and are used up during the reaction.
Sensitisation means that after exposure, a person could become allergic to the substance. If sensitised, each time the person is in contact again with the substance (even at very low concentrations) the person could have a high allergic reaction with respiratory impacts (e.g. asthma). The majority of individuals with diisocyanatesrelated asthma show improvement or total recovery after exposure has ceased.
Pass the information you receive from your product supplier on to your customers.
The new regulation only applies to professionals and industry. A separate restriction for consumer use came into force several years ago.
The new regulation has been adopted on 4 August 2020 and comes into force on 24 August 2020 which means that by 24 August 2023 all users of PU products should be trained and certified.
The legal requirements should appear on the packaging as of 24 February 2022.
The restriction is targeted at avoiding unsafe handling of diisocyanates, not on restricting product availability. Due to their unique properties in many applications PU adhesives and sealants will remain widely available.
Your supplier will help you with any product-related questions. If you would like to learn more about the status of training developments or other related general topics, please contact FEICA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The diisocyanates industry provides information about diisocyanates and their safe handling on its website.