Safe use of diisocyanates

PU training

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%. Details of this restriction can be found in all EU languages via EUR-Lex, the European Union's website offering access to EU law.

FEICA, in coordination with the European Diisocyanate & Polyol Producers Association (ISOPA), the European Aliphatic Isocyanates Producer Association (ALIPA), and several other industries in the polyurethane industry, launched a comprehensive training programme to ensure the safe use of diisocyanates for producers and professional users all over Europe. In this way, FEICA also ensures that all end users of PU containing adhesives and sealants across Europe continue to handle diisocyanates safely.

The PU Training Platform can be accessed  via www.safeusediisocyanates.eu.

To facilitate adhesive and sealant companies to comply with the information provision requirement, the FEICA information webpage www.feica.eu/PUinfo was created to provide users with pertinent information regarding the training platform. A link to this webpage (or QR code) can be added to adhesives and sealants labels to direct to the training platform.

Labelling obligations

From 24 February 2022 at the latest, all PU products for which safety training is required can be identified by the following statement: 'As of 24 August 2023, adequate training is required before industrial or professional use of this product. 

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. The new restriction requires training prior to use for diisocyanates.

Picture1.png 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:

In support of our National Association members, the updated leaflet has been made available in 8 European languages:

More specific information for end-users was made available via the leaflet ‘Diisocyanates restriction compliance for end-users of adhesives and sealants'. 

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.

Below are some frequently asked questions on the safe use of polyurethane products, answered. 

Are diisocyanates safe?

Like that of any other substances, 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 used only as reactive chemicals; they react with the polyol to form the PU product and are used up during the reaction.

What is respiratory sensitisation?

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 highly allergic reaction with respiratory impacts (e.g.  asthma). The majority of individuals with diisocyanates-related asthma show improvement or total recovery after exposure has ceased.

Is there a standard available for measuring 0.1% free monomeric diisocyanate? Will FEICA provide support?

There is more than one possible method. 

The method CAM-0642303-18E is owned by CURRENTA GmbH & Co OHG, and FEICA has a non-exclusive and non-transferable license.

As FEICA holds a license, its members can refer to this license to receive a customer-specific discount.

However, as a non-member, please note that you can buy a license at full price from CURRENTA.

I am a reseller/distributor. What do I need to do?

Pass the information you receive from your product supplier on to your customers.

What about PU products for consumer use?

The new regulation only applies to professionals and industry. A separate restriction for consumer use came into force several years ago.

Is the training mandatory only for EU manufacturers or suppliers, or do even foreign Importers also have to be trained?

If the importer and his personnel are exposed to diisocyanates when they are opening drums or pouring out drums in a facility in the European Union, then they will have to be trained because that is industrial use. But if they are only shipping products and they do not have potential exposure to the products, then this is like any other shipping activity. 

On what date will this regulation come into force?

The new regulation was adopted on 4 August 2020 and came into force on 24 August 2020.  After a three-year transition phase, by 24 August 2023, all users of PU products should be trained and certified.

When do I have to update the labelling of my packaging?

The legal requirements should appear on the packaging as of 24 February 2022.

Will PU adhesives and sealants remain on the market?

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.

Does the supplier need a confirmation from his customer (the recipient of the diisocyanate-containing product)?

No, the supplier must ensure that the professional or industrial customer is provided with information about the training requirements. That the customer or user reads the information or even acknowledges receipt of it is not required by the regulation. Furthermore, the supplier must put the following statement on the packaging: ‘As from 24 August 2023, adequate training is required before industrial or professional use’. A confirmation of receipt from the customer is not required.

How are the training sessions organised? Does the supplier have to provide the training?

The supplier has to make sure that the training according to the requirements of the restriction is available to the users. Suppliers do not need to organise training sessions themselves. To this end, FEICA, together with ISOPA and ALIPA, the diisocyanate manufacturers’ industry associations, have prepared training material in line with the legal requirements, which is available in English from November 2021 and will be made available in all the European Union languages by the middle of 2022. The training material is available via an e-learning platform which accommodates online training, webinar sessions or classroom training given by external trainers or organised in-house. While the supplier is responsible for providing its customer with information about the training, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the training is completed by its employees and that this completion is documented.

Is there an exam foreseen to show approved knowledge?

A certificate will be issued to show successful completion of the training. The test questions come from a large pool of questions related to the training material, and if you have successfully passed the tests, then you will receive the certificate. 

Whom should I contact if I have questions?

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 info@feica.eu.

Where can I find more information about diisocyanates?

The diisocyanates industry provides information about diisocyanates and their safe handling on its website.