Safe use of diisocyanates

Polyurethane (PU) adhesives and sealants

FEICA published a leaflet titled 'a safe use for polyurethane products', available in 7 European languages:

PU adhesives and sealants are versatile, innovative and safe. They 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.

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.

PU training

As from 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.

Find out more here: 

A safe use for polyurethane products (ENDE, FR, ES, ITPL and NL).

Check below the frequently asked questions on the safe use of polyurethane products. Click on each question to see the relevant answer.

Are diisocyanates safe?

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.

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 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.

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.

At what date will this regulation come into force?

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.

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.

Who 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 http://www.safeusediisocyanates.eu/.