BDO & Derivatives
The BDO & Derivatives Sector Group
The BDO & Derivatives Sector Group deals with 1,4 butanediol (BDO), and its downstream products such as gammabutyrolactone (GBL), tetrahydrofuran (THF), N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP), N-ethylpyrrolidone (NEP) and 2-pyrrolidone (PYR). The group takes care of the regulatory environment of these chemicals and strives to maintain a high level of product safety by appropriate measures. This includes a social responsibility for potential misuse of these bulk chemicals.
Uses and properties
BDO, GBL and PYR, predominantly serve as building blocks in the production of other chemicals or engineering plastics and polyurethane systems (e.g. golf balls, skateboard wheels, car bumpers). THF, NEP and NMP are essential process solvents in the production of circuit boards, insulated wire, membranes and lithium ion batteries. Furthermore they are solvents for inks, lacquers, adhesives and chemical synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients THF, apart from its solvent use, is the monomer of Poly THF the principal material for the manufacture of elastic fibers and other high performance polymers.
Issues and regulations
The BDO and Derivatives REACh Consortium activities and dossiers are managed by ReachCentrum.
Voluntary Product Stewardship Code for BDO and GBL
BDO and GBL are on the Voluntary Monitoring List for Non-Scheduled Drug Precursors under the EU regulations on monitoring of trade in drug precursors. The members of the BDO & Derivatives Sector Group have all committed to a common voluntary Product Stewardship code with measures to prevent the misuse of BDO and GBL and only supply these products to credible customers with known and understood end-uses. In particular, the BDO & Derivatives Sector group does not support the sale of BDO and GBL on internet to private consumers. Since its adoption in 2005, the code has been reviewed regularly to ensure its effectiveness.
Recent developments on 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)
- In 2013, the competent authority of the Netherlands submitted a restriction dossier on NMP to ECHA. Subsequently, in December 2014, a joint Opinion of the Committee for risk assessment (RAC) and the Socio economic analysis Committee (SEAC) advised the EC to put forward an amended restriction for NMP as the best management option.
- The joint RAC and SEAC Opinion defines a harmonized “Derived No Effect Level (DNEL)” for workers of 10 mg/m³ for inhalation to be used to assess and define risk minimization measures in occupational exposure scenarios. However, the recommendation was below the valid occupational exposure level for NMP of 40 mg/m³ implemented by the EU Directive 2009/169. Therefore, in December 2014, the EC urged RAC and the scientific committee on occupational exposure levels (SCOEL) to find a compromise on the basis of article 95 (3) of the REACH regulation 1907/2006 (*).
- On 30 November 2016, the parties acknowledged that they were unable to reach an agreement on a common position. The Cefic BDO & Derivatives sector group understands and respects the scientific grounds of every stakeholder. However, the lack of clarity on an effective DNEL significantly increases the uncertainty about the future use of NMP. Industry investments and market decisions have already been postponed since the EC’s decision of December 2014. Further delay on a decision on an amended restriction will lead to even more economic damage for producers and industry consumers.
- The Cefic BDO & Derivatives sector group urges the EC to overcome this period of regulatory uncertainty and to come to a final conclusion in order to pursue the NMP restriction process by amending Annex XVII of Reach, as proposed in the Dutch competent authorities.
- On 2 March, ECHA added NMP to the Draft 8th Recommendation of Priority substances to be included in Annex XIV of the Reach Regulation (Authorisation).
- A public consultation has been now launched and will run until 2 June. Details can be found on : How to participate in the public consultation on ECHA's draft recommendation.
- There is also a parallel call for information by the European Commission on the possible socio-economic consequences of the inclusion of the substances in the Authorisation List: How to participate in the parallel call for information by the European Commission
- The BDO & Derivatives Sector Group is currently preparing a letter for NMP users.
- The sector group intends to organize an information session on NMP for industry sector associations that are using NMP on 20 April in Brussels. Details will be communicated later. Industry sector associations that are aware that their customers are using NMP are invited to contact the BDO SG manager Philip de Smedt.
Philip de Smedt, Sector Group Manager
Tel. + 32 2 676 7272
Chairman: Vasilios Galanos, BASF.