Important players in the manufacture, import and downstream use of photoinitiators have set the wheels in motion to form a trade group they hope will present a public and unified voice for the industry.
Half a dozen companies – including producers and distributors – are understood to have expressed interest in the project. Their number includes Europe's largest producer of the substances used in coatings and inks, including those used for sensitive packaging applications.
The moves come at a time when the European Commission is in the process of evaluating the EU's food contact materials legislation. The industry is also aware that photoinitiators are about to come under scrutiny under REACH.
A spokesperson for the proposed consortium told Chemical Watch: "It was felt necessary to join forces as Echa is now looking into substances in a category approach; that is to say targeting particular classes of chemicals, as opposed to individual substances, all at once.
"One advantage will be the possibility to undertake research at a fraction of what it would cost an individual operator."
There is also a demand from downstream users for more communication on toxicology with the industry, the spokesperson added. A particular interest is in measuring the potential of intentionally and non-intentionally added substances (Ias/Nias) to migrate through packaging substrates into food and other sensitive products, in light of the EU’s upcoming review.
Articles of association have been drawn up, for what will become known as the Photoinitiators Platform. It will be registered in Belgium, though aims to be a global organisation. The initiative will be funded by its members, producers and distributors, in proportion to their worldwide turnover.
Photoinitiators are used extensively in combination with crosslinkable monomers and oligomers in ultra-violet-curable inks and coatings, adhesives and many other products. There are 15 main manufacturers globally, with most production carried out in China.