Besides its common core activities, Petrochemicals Europe comprises sector groups, representing a specific product or family or products and ensuring that their specific issues are addressed.

They provide a sharp focus for the management of activities and issues which affect their specific sector, and they are also an important source of specialist advice and information. Their members are all company experts and their activities are managed by Petrochemicals Europe staff.

Phenol & Acetone

The Phenol & Acetone Sector Group

The Phenol & Acetone Sector Group (PASG) takes responsibility for phenol, acetone as well as their raw materials (cumene and cumene hydro peroxide) and their by-products (alphamethyl styrene, acetophenone, di-isopropyl benzene).

Uses and properties

Phenol is mainly used as an intermediate in organic synthesis. In this, phenol essentially serves as a raw material for the production of bisphenol A, phenolic resins, alkylphenols and caprolactam. It is also used for salicylic acid, nitrophenols, diphenyl ethers, halogenated phenols and other chemicals.

Phenolic resins, or phenol-formaldehyde polymers, were the first completely synthetic polymers to be commercialised. Although moulded products no longer represent their most important application, through their use as adhesives they still represent almost half of the total production of thermosetting polymers.

Bisphenol A is a building block for making polycarbonate resins, which are used for structural parts, impact resistant glazing, street-light bulbs, household appliance parts, components of electrical/electronic devices, automotive applications, reusable bottles, and food and drink containers. It is also a building block used to make epoxy resins for coatings, electrical laminants, composites and adhesives.

Alkylphenol is mainly used as a stabiliser for rubbers and plastics, as a surfactant, as an industrial detergent, and in the mining and textile industries.

Caprolactam is a raw material for the manufacture of some nylons.

Issues and regulations


REACH Implementation
A “Phenol & AcetoneREACH Consortium was formed through which manufacturers have joined efforts to prepare by 30 November 2010 consistent registration dossiers covering phenol and its derivative substances including phenol, acetone, cumene, alphamethyl styrene, acetophenone, di-isopropyl benzene, CHP and "high boiler".
Project Management: ReachCentrum.

Regulation
The Sector Group is pro-actively managing regulatory and environmental responsibilities on the industry:
  • Health: SCOEL / Occupational Exposure Limits, Classification issues
  • Environment: CO2 emissions (benchmarks), Industrial Emissions Directive (BREF)
Specific Issues
  • Exchange non-confidential safety information about the production, distribution and handling of phenol.
  • Promoting the standing of the phenol and acetone industry in a socially responsible manner.
  • Informing consumers and those involved in the handling of the products on its properties and functionality.
  • Encouraging the safe and proper use of phenol by developing and publishing appropriate technical information.
  • Exchanging non-confidential safety information about the production and handling of phenol.
  • Maintaining a high level of technical understanding by identifying and managing research into health and environmental effects and assessing risks in use.
  • Organising and funding toxicology projects, in collaboration with the US Phenol Panels where appropriate.
  • Presenting a positive image of phenol and acetone to the industry, authorities and the public.
  • Developing a common position on major issues of the industry for presentation to regulators, opinion leaders and other concerned bodies.
  • Developing product stewardship programmes following the Responsible Care principles.

Contact/Further information


Paul Teheux, Sector Group Manager
tel. + 32 2 676 7258

Membership

Borealis Group
CEPSA Quimica
Domo Caproleuna
Dow
Ineos Phenol
Novapex
Rütgers Chemicals
Versalis

Chairman: Coral Verge, CEPSA Quimica

More information

"Safe Handling of Phenol", video available upon request.