OSHA Issues Guidance for Uniform Enforcement of Silica Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime, and construction.

The new directive provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:

  • Methods of compliance;
  • Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods;
  • Exposure assessments;
  • Housekeeping;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Regulated areas;
  • Recordkeeping;
  • Employee information and training;
  • Medical surveillance; and
  • Communication of hazards.

The directive also provides clarity on major topics, such as alternative exposure control methods when a construction employer does not fully and properly implement Table 1, variability in sampling, multi-employer situations, and temporary workers.

OSHA began enforcing most provisions of the construction standard in September 2017, with enforcement of the requirements for sample analysis starting in June 2018. Enforcement of most of the general industry and maritime standards began in June 2018, with enforcement of some medical surveillance requirements commencing on June 23, 2020.

On June 23, 2021, OSHA will begin enforcing requirements for engineering controls for hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry.

Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/osha-crys-silica/
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EPA Seeks to Block WOTUS Rule in Colorado

On June 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed a notice of appeal in Colorado v. EPA, D. Colo., seeking to reverse a June 19 court decision that blocked the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule which redefines “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The legal challenge will go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Notably, Colorado is the only state in the country where the current Administration’s WOTUS definition is not officially in effect. A California court on June 19 rejected state requests for injunctions against the April 2020 final WOTUS rule, which went into effect on June 22, 2020.

On April 21, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule which redefines “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The WOTUS rule defines the scope of waters that are protected by federal anti-pollution laws under the Clean Water Act. Under the Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule, EPA and the Army Corps narrowed the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before.

The new WOTUS definition is far narrower than the previous version, as it excludes federal oversight of isolated wetlands and ephemeral streams that only flow after a heavy rainfall. However, the revised definition does include protection of intermittent streams that flow only during certain times of year. According to EPA, this revised definition increases the predictability and consistency of Clean Water Act programs.

There are still several legal challenges playing out in district courts across the country, including some brought by groups maintaining that the final rule illegally concludes that streams fed only by rain or snowfall aren’t “waters of the United States,” and thus are no longer protected under the Clean Water Act.

Background

In May 2015, EPA released the final WOTUS rule with the Army Corps, over the objections expressed by many, including ACA. The 2015 WOTUS rule definition gave the federal government jurisdiction over some of the smallest waterways in the country, including authority over smaller bodies of water that EPA doesn’t already regulate.

In February 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13778, which directed EPA and the Army Corps to review and rescind or revise the 2015 WOTUS rule. As a result, EPA and the Army Corps initiated a comprehensive, two-step process intended to repeal (step one) and revise (step two) the definition of WOTUS. The agencies officially completed this process after issuing the Navigable Waters Protection Final Rule.

ACA has consistently supported recodification of the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 WOTUS rule, and revising the definition to more clearly define that “waters of the United States” are waters within the ordinary meaning of the term.

More information can be found on EPA’s website.

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/wotus-co/
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Safic-Alcan Extends Distribution Agreement with RapidPurge in Europe

Safic-Alcan has extended its distribution partnership with RapidPurge in Europe. The extended agreement covers Spain, Portugal, UK, Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Turkey.

“We are happy with this extended partnership which is the result of our longstanding and successful partnership with RapidPurge. We are confident that this new opportunity will allow us to grow our business further in all the new allocated territories while enhancing our image as a global distributor of purging compounds,” said Philippe Combette, CEO of Safic-Alcan.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/safic-alcan-extends-distribution-agreement-with-rapidpurge-in-europe/
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Nouryon Completes Organic Peroxides Expansion in Brazil

Nouryon has completed a project to more than double capacity for organic peroxides at its plant in Itupeva, Brazil. The expansion will add capacity for products including methyl ethyl ketone peroxides (MEKP) as well as dibenzyl peroxide (BPO) pastes and waxes, the company said.

“This investment in Itupeva has transformed our site into a state-of-the-art production facility and gives our composites customers greater supply reliability across our entire organic peroxides product portfolio,” said Alain Rynwalt, vice president of Polymer Catalysts at Nouryon. The company reported that one key upgrade at the site is installation of an advanced Safety Instrumented System (SIS).

Nouryon stated that this is the latest in a series of investments the company has made to strengthen its Polymer Catalysts business, which includes organic peroxides and metal alkyls. Last year, the company acquired Zhejiang Friend Chemical Co., the largest producer of triethyl aluminum (TEAL) in China. In April of this year, Nouryon announced an agreement to acquire the merchant TEAL business of Sasol.

“Nouryon is a world leader in essential ingredients for the polymer industry,” said Johan Landfors, president of Technology Solutions at Nouryon. “We supply our growing customer base from production facilities in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and our most recent investment in Itupeva strengthens even more our supply position in this fast-growing region.”

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/nouryon-completes-organic-peroxides-expansion-in-brazil/
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Eastman Chemical Expands Partnership with IMCD Group

Eastman has extended its partnership with IMCD Group to distribute Eastman’s portfolio of thermoplastic polyester materials. IMCD will distribute these over a wide range of markets and applications, including medical, consumer durables, cosmetics, personal care, packaging and more. Currently, IMCD distributes Eastman specialty plastics in Spain and Portugal. Under the expanded distribution agreement, IMCD will also start serving an expanded EMEA market, including Algeria, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

“IMCD is already a strategic partner in the distribution for various Eastman specialty materials, with demonstrated synergies and processes alignment,” says Eastman sales director Oliver Osborne. “We believe this expanded partnership will ensure a smooth transition for our specialty plastics customers whose distribution arrangements with incumbent distribution partners finish at the end of July. We encourage anyone who has questions to contact their Eastman representatives, who remain at our customers’ disposal.”

IMCD added that the expansion of its long-term partnership with Eastman Chemical B.V. reflects IMCD’s commitment and ambition to offer world-class innovation and technical expertise, complementary product lines, and strategic alignment, in particular with regards to sustainability and sustainable solutions.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/eastman-chemical-expands-partnership-with-imcd-group/
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Fitz Chem LLC and Nagase America Create Nagase Specialty Materials NA LLC

Nagase America LLC has announced the integration of its NY Division and Fitz Chem LLC into one company, effective Sept. 1, 2020, under the name Nagase Specialty Materials NA LLC (“NSM”).  According to Fitz Chem, this integration will further strengthen its position in North America through demonstrated leadership in the provision of specialty materials and solutions, continued excellence in distribution, and a strengthened business development focus.

Nagase Specialty Materials NA LLC will be headquartered in Itasca, Ill. and will reportedly be led by CEO, Takuya Tonomura and the existing Officers, Mark Miller (president & COO) and Laura Mack (CFO). The company stated that the integration of the sales, business development, customer service and operations teams will occur over the next three months and until then, each entity will continue to handle inquiries and orders individually.

“I’m excited to lead our NSM organization in North America which provides a unique value proposition to its Customers, Suppliers and Business Partners as a hybrid – continued representation of the finest chemical and material Suppliers combined with access to our complementary manufactured Nagase technologies in our markets, all within the context of NA geographic expansion, said Miller.”

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/fitz-chem-llc-and-nagase-america-create-nagase-specialty-materials-na-llc/
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Grace Doubles LUDOX® Colloidal Silica Capacity

 W. R. Grace & Co. has announced the opening of its new 8,200 square-meter colloidal silica plant at its European flagship manufacturing and R&D center in Worms, Germany. The facility reportedly doubles the worldwide production capacity of LUDOX, Grace’s leading colloidal silica product, and significantly enhances Grace’s responsiveness to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, (EMEA) and Asia Pacific. This will enable Grace to continue to meet growing global demand in a thriving specialty silica segment, where there is active innovation that enables future growth for key industries, the company reported.

Located in Germany’s manufacturing heartland south of Frankfurt where the company has been operating since 1972, the new facility expands Grace’s manufacturing center in Worms adding approximately 25 new high-tech manufacturing jobs bringing employment at the site to approximately 950, according to W. R. Grace. “Our advanced new plant enables us to better support our customers and partners and allows us to remain aligned with customer demand. This expansion, combined with our existing manufacturing facilities, talented and experienced employees, and best-in-class technologies, are evidence of exciting growth at Grace and our dedication to our LUDOX® colloidal silica customers worldwide,” said Sandra Wisniewski, president, Grace Materials Technologies, said,

The company added that the new plant allows it to further enhance its broad portfolio of products and will strengthen Worms as a cornerstone of our services in our Refining Technologies, Specialty Catalysts, and Materials Technologies operating segments.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/grace-doubles-ludox-colloidal-silica-capacity/
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ACA and CPCA Urge RCC to Resolve U.S.-Canada Paint Biocides Misalignment

Last month, ACA joined the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA) in comments submitted to the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), urging intercession to resolve issues related to regulation of biocides used in paint formulations.

The RCC was launched in 2011 and brings together regulators from United States and Canadian departments with health, safety, and environmental protection mandates to reduce unnecessary differences between their regulatory frameworks. ACA supports RCC efforts to streamline regulations between the two countries.

An overview of the ACA-CPCA jointly submitted comments are summarized here.

Divergent Regulations

Biocides include a wide range of materials that control the growth of unwanted, deleterious micro-organisms in the environment. However, in May 2019, the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) ban on the use of octhilinone (OIT) as a material preservative in paint became effective, causing divergence with how biocides are currently regulated in the United States by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The PMRA’s decision to disallow the use of OIT in the formulation of architectural paints in Canada, also includes those shipped to Canada, when added for a preservative effect on a paint product. PMRA also restricted the use of several other biocidal preservatives used in paint, including the widely used CMIT/MIT. However, industry has repeatedly understored that such biocides are integral to the cost-effective performance of paint products while posing little to no risk when handled as directed:  if water- based paints cannot be preserved, they are of little use to consumers and commercial operators who require them to extend the life-cycle of their assets.

While many antimicrobials are routinely reviewed on both sides of the border by the USEPA and PMRA, there are still persistent differences between the two agencies with respect to their publication schedule and timing, risk assessment methodologies, re-evaluation decisions and use registrations. As a result, this leads to unavoidable trade disruptions due to non-alignment and production issues with manufactured products and treated articles in several industries such as paint and coatings, based on an inaccurate understanding of actual risk.

U.S. EPA recently published draft risk assessments for a class of antimicrobials called isothiazolinones (ITAs). CPCA is concerned that the prospect of pending decisions by EPA that would further limit critical uses of biocides, namely ITAs used in product formulations in the coatings sector. This has once again raised the need to remind both Canadian and U.S. authorities noted herein to take action to prevent Canada-only or US-only restrictions for antimicrobials in paint and coatings products. This would help companies on both sides of the border, although more so on the Canadian side given that 50 percent of all coatings products sold in Canada are imported from the United States. Inconsistencies are a non-tariff barrier to trade and not in the spirit or intent of the recently signed United States- Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Deleterious Impact on Industry

The Canadian paint and coatings industry is already dealing with a severe lack of availability and numerous chemical incompatibility issues with the current, limited number of registered biocides for paint for ‘in-can’ and dry-film  preservation, which is even more severe than in the United States. To have both types of preservation for water-based (latex) paint, the product must contain a biocide that works. Ongoing restrictions are severely limiting the availability of biocides for products in Canada, especially with respect to decorative latex paint which represents 50 percent of all paint products sold. Latex must utilize biocides to maintain product performance, which in turn helps sustain the life-cycle of many substrates in many industrial sectors. Further, latex paint has low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. ACA and CPCA have stressed that any additional bans or restrictions on those biocides in paint and coatings will be catastrophic for the coatings industry in Canada.

Canadian paint manufacturers are required to reformulate their products due to actions taken by the PMRA, which leaves the industry with an insufficient number of registered biocides or possible alternatives for the foreseeable future. (Including the cost and time for R&D to find suitable replacements)

The remaining PMRA-registered biocides for paint and coatings are either not chemically compatible, and/or alter other properties or performance of the mixtures, in some cases this renders them useless in prevention and the control of biofouling, and/or are not cost-effective and competitive. This can also lead to health issues via biocontamination for those handling the products. This is undermining national paint manufacturing activities in Canada as it forces Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to discontinue key product lines and/or abandon critical supplies coming from the United States.

Currently, U.S. paint manufacturers still benefit from a much wider selection of antimicrobials than Canadian paint manufacturers, while as noted above, more than 50 percent of the volume of paint sold in Canada is imported  from the United States, this creating an economic burden in terms of stock management and difficulties for both US and Canadian paint manufacturers to adequately preserve all paint products sold in Canada. Further compounding this problem, U.S. EPA is also re-evaluating commonly used biocides like ITAs and may propose its own restrictions, which would either not be aligned with Canada or, if aligned, would leave the Canadian and U.S. paint industries with even fewer alternatives for high-volume paint products.

Recommendations for RCC

For this reason, CPCA and ACA recommended that the RCC establish a national funding program with international coordination that would extend research and development efforts for new, safe alternatives for in-can and film preservatives. This could be beneficial and work in both countries while agencies further evaluate any risks associated with consumer or contractor exposure. In the absence of viable alternatives (or the possibility to use efficient technical combination of registered biocides) and no suitable technical solution for adequate paint formulations, the paint industry will experience severe economic consequences in both countries, and more significantly so in Canada.

ACA and CPCA urged the RCC to encourage efforts and programs that will ensure a viable circular economy and enhanced sustainability. Without in-can biocide preservatives, leftover water-based paint recycling would not be possible due to product breakdown and microbial contamination.

CPCA and ACA have sought better and faster alignment in biocide approvals. As part of the RCC Workplan C and the PMRA Post-Market Program Review, the paint industry remains hopeful that it will soon see concrete evidence of more coordinated efforts and more sensitivity with respect to the tremendous impact of misalignment and an inaccurate understanding of the minimal risk posed by biocides when used in paints and coatings.  . Without intercession, EPA and PMRA decisions  will lead to banning, cancelling, labelling or restricting use rates or certain uses in the registration of pure or combined formulations of active ingredients on both sides of the border.

Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman or David Darling for more information.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/rcc-biocides/
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Sun Chemical Acquires Digital Inks Business from Sensient Technologies

Sun Chemical and its parent company, DIC Corporation, have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares of Sensient Imaging Technologies and certain other assets related to the production of inks. The transaction is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2020.

According to Sun Chemical, the strategic investment in Sensient Imaging Technologies will allow Sun Chemical and DIC to expand its inkjet ink capabilities and expertise using complementary technologies that will further strengthen the highest standards of services and solutions to its customers and distributor partners. Inkjet is a strategic segment for Sun Chemical and DIC, and the investment in Sensient Imaging Technologies will demonstrate Sun Chemical and DIC’s commitment in the digital segment, the company stated.

“We’re excited for the opportunities this acquisition presents not only for Sun Chemical but the future of digital inks,” said Mehran Yazdani, president of Sun Chemical Advanced Materials. “Sensient Imaging Technologies’ portfolio and expertise in the industry, combined with our extensive background in industrial inkjet ink solutions, will enhance our combined customer support. Our customers rely on digital print’s agile supply chain and production flexibility, so they will value this acquisition because it will drive future innovation and expansion.”

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/sun-chemical-acquires-digital-inks-business-from-sensient-technologies/
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Materion to Acquire Optics Balzers

Materion has announced plans to expand and diversify its optical coatings business dramatically, with a $160 million agreement to acquire Optics Balzers. The all-cash deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by September.

Materion stated that Optics Balzers is a pioneer in thin-film optical coatings with a strong brand name and reputation for quality, and it has demonstrated an unmatched ability to develop proprietary technology and create value for global customers in attractive high-growth markets.

“We have long held a deep amount of respect and appreciation for the Optics Balzers business. Their technical capabilities, product portfolio, end market, and geographic mix, combined with their talented leadership team, make them the ideal partner to accelerate our global growth,” said Materion CEO Jugal Vijayvargiya.

Materion stated that it will benefit from Balzers’ state-of-the-art research and manufacturing facilities in Liechtenstein and Germany in Europe, as well as its new production site in Penang, Malaysia. The U.S. firm added that the entire Balzers management team, global workforce, and facilities will be merged within its precision coatings business segment.

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from American Coatings Association https://www.paint.org/materion-to-acquire-optics-balzers/
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