Occurrence in construction products

In document Hazardous chemicals in construction products (Page 31-36)

All the substances which meet the hazard categories mentioned above do not occur in construction products. In order to identify which hazardous substances may occur in

construction articles used in Europe and Sweden, information from a number of different lists and databases have been compiled. The consultant’s report is based on studies from the following databases: the EU EDC database, SIN List, REACH database, C&L Inventory, the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Product Register, SundaHus20 and Byggvarubedömningen (Building product assessment)21 databases.

The lists of hazardous substances which were obtained from the databases were matched with the REACH database of substances registered for use in the construction and building

products sector22, as well as with substances with calculated LCI (Lowest Concentration of Interest) values23.

The REACH database of registered substances contains information about CMR substances, on their own or as part of mixtures which a manufacturer or importer handles in quantities of at least 1 tonne per year. In the case of allergenic substances, the REACH database currently contains information from the manufacturers or importers handling quantities of at least 100 tonnes per year. However, from 2018, the REACH regulation will apply in full, which means that information about allergenic substances manufactured or imported in quantities as little as 1 tonne per manufacturer/importer per year will be registered in the database.

The database contains information about the sectors in which the registered substances are used. By searching according to substances registered in the sector using construction and building products (SU 19: Building and construction work), a list of substances will be produced which are relevant to construction products. It is important to remember that data contained in the REACH database contains some uncertainties. ECHA has had feedback about the quality of the data input in the REACH entries. The registered applications for substances are not always complete as there are certain options for omitting specialist applications if there is a reluctance to specify them on competition grounds.

The LCI concept has been developed with the aim of ensuring that concentrations of VOCs in indoor air, coming from emissions from construction products, are acceptable from a health perspective24. LCI values are based on health effects, but should not be regarded as guideline

19 ChemSec is a non-profit organisation working for a Non-toxic environment. ChemSec was founded in 2002 by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the WWF, Nature and Youth Sweden and Friends of the Earth, http://chemsec.org/about-us/who-we-are.

20 http://www.sundahus.se/home.aspx 21 https://byggvarubedomningen.se/

22 ECHA - Information on Chemicals – Registered substances. http://echa.europa.eu/sv/information-on- chemicals/registered-substances

23 Kephalopoulos S, Geiss O., 2013. Harmonisation framework for health based evaluation of indoor emissions from construction products in the European Union using the EU-LCI concept European collaborative action - urban air, indoor environment and human exposure, Report No 29, 2013.

24 ECA, 1997. European Collaborative Action - Urban Air, Indoor Environment and Human Exposure.

Evaluation of VOC emissions from building materials – Solid flooring materials. Report No. 18 EUR 17334 EN European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health & Consumer Protection.

or threshold values for VOCs in indoor environments, but are produced as a guideline for assessing construction products. A more detailed explanation of LCI values is given in Chapter 5.

By producing the cross-section of these lists, 46 hazardous organic substances were identified as potentially being used in construction products within the EU.

3.2.1 Presence of products in Byggvarubedömningen (Building product

assessment) and SundaHus databases25

Number of construction products containing particularly hazardous substances

The 46 Particurlarly Hazardous Substances identified in construction products are listed in Table B1 in Appendix 3. Of these substances 31 of them appeared in one of the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases (see the details about this in Chapter 6). Diisononyl phthalate (DINP), 2-butanonoxime and formaldehyde were the substances which occurred in the largest number of products in both the Byggvarubedömningen and SundaHus databases. Figure 1 shows the total number of products (from the selected categories, see below) in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases per substance, while Table B2 in Appendix 3 shows the occurrence in various product categories. In many cases products are probably registered in both databases, which may explain the consensus between them both26. Searches were made using CAS27 numbers. Based on the search hits, the construction

products were selected which came under the categories paint, flooring and carpets, insulating material, adhesives and joints, pipes and hoses, wallpaper, indoor and joinery articles, panel material, plaster and mortar (see Appendix 7). If a product occurs as several articles (for instance, a certain paint in different sizes of packaging), only the product has been listed. Consequently, the total number of articles may be larger than the number of products. As the objective was only to include products intended to be used indoors, qualified assessments have been required in some cases. For the groups of articles mainly used indoors (flooring and carpets, wallpaper and panel material), the total number of products has also been indicated in order to give an idea of what proportion of the products the relevant substance occurs in. Concentrations in construction products are often indicated as “less than” values (the exact content is not mentioned or is unknown). There may also be a lack of transparency insofar as the substance in question is only used during production and does not occur in the finished product. In some cases, no content is indicated at all, but the substance is still included in the article’s list of contents. In the latter case, the product is even included in the statistics as the substance occurring in the relevant product.

25 Along with BASTA, Byggvarubedömningen (Building product assessment) and SundaHus are the leading assessment systems for construction articles on the Swedish market. A more detailed description is provided in Chapter 6.

26 L. Elfström, SundaHus, personal communication.

27 A CAS number (Chemical Abstracts Service number) is a unique number for every chemical substance, which is published in open chemical literature. The CAS number provides an international identification number for chemicals. https://www.cas.org/

Figure 1: Occurrence of Particurlarly Hazardous Substances products intended for use indoors in SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen (Building product assessment) databases. The construction products may have been sorted into one of the following categories: paints, flooring and carpets, insulating material, adhesives and joints, pipes and hoses, wallpaper, indoor and joinery articles, panel material, plaster and mortar.

Concentrations of hazardous substances in construction products

All construction articles registered in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases need to have a contents declaration. This means that the contents (as a percentage by weight) must be specified for substances at CAS level. This is often expressed as a “less than” value, which results in the total contents sometimes exceeding 100%. A summary of the average chemical content in different construction article categories is presented in Table 2, based on the assumption that a value reported as being “less than” is the actual concentration. An average content does not mean that the substance occurs in all the articles within a particular category, but gives an overview of roughly the concentration at which the substances occur when they are used. However, there are uncertainties in the information which companies have input in assessment systems. For example, the table shows that styrene occurs in concentrations between 20 and 49% in the products in which it is used, while vinyl acetate occurs in concentrations up to 20%. As styrene is used as a starting material in the production of polystyrene, it is likely that a large proportion of these concentrations comes from raw materials used during production. This is evident in some cases in the database, but far from being the case all the time. In some cases, the occurrence of free monomers and

“prepolymers” is reported, but with the concentration being specified only for the free monomer. As the free monomer and polymer material have different CAS numbers and the search has been carried out based on the monomer’s CAS number, we have assumed that the substance reported as a monomer also occurs in this form in the product, but this is therefore

not necessarily the case. Similarly, vinyl acetate often forms a copolymer with polythene, but is therefore reported in the databases as the free monomer.

With regard to the 46 Particurlarly Hazardous Substances used in the construction sector in the EU, the overall picture indicates that the “adhesives and joints” category shows the largest content of chemicals as a percentage, both in terms of number of substances and content, whereas wallpaper has a restricted content of chemicals according to these two databases. Table 2: Summary of average content of Particurlarly Hazardous Substances in different construction product categories, based on content reported in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases.

One conclusion from the consultant’s report is that the Byggvarubedömningen and SundaHus assessment systems are currently not in the best state to be able to provide overall statistics for the whole construction sector on a representative basis as there are no binding report

requirements for all construction products. Chemical substance Average content (%) P ain ts F loor ing a nd car p et s Indoo r a nd jo in er y ar ti cl es Ins u la ti ng ma te ria l A dhe si v es a nd jo in ts P las ter an d mo rta r P ip es an d h o ses W oode n pa ne ls Wal lp ap er

2,3-Epoxypropyl o-tolyl ether 15

Bisphenol A 8 0.1 35 Chlorinated paraffins 5 2 21 15 DINP 5 14 13 20 Formaldehyde 0.05 1 Tetrachloroethene 53 Tetrahydrofuran 33 Trisodium nitrilotriacetate 5 Tetrabromobisphenol A 0.4 3 Hexabromocyclododecane 1 2 0.1 1 N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone 19 0.8 1 3 50 Toluene 28 0.1 27 1 Styrene 35 34 49 20 n-Hexane 4 Vinyl acetate 3 4 0.2 9 20 Phenol 2 0.2 1 10 0.01 9 N-Ethyl-2-pyrrolidone 4 Acrylonitrile 1 8 Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane 1 4

Total quantities of hazardous substances in product articles – sample calculations for flooring and panel material

It is difficult to make a proper assessment of quantities of hazardous substances in articles due to the lack of information about the articles’ contents. As the products in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases are not classified according to the Combined Nomenclature (CN)28, a direct link cannot be made with the trade statistics. However, at a more general level, it is still possible to estimate the articles’ contents based on the information in the databases.

Based on the occurrence of chemicals registered for flooring and carpets, as well as for panel materials in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases, the consultant used the trade statistics to estimate the total quantity of hazardous substances added to the Swedish market every year in these products29.

As indicated in Figure 2 below, DINP is the predominant substance in these product categories, with an estimated net supply of almost 36,000 tonnes per year in flooring, followed by phenol and formaldehyde in wooden panels (22,000 and 8,000 tonnes per year respectively), as well as styrene, bisphenol A and vinyl acetate in flooring (2,600, 2,000 and 900 tonnes per year respectively), but with large variations due to the spread in the reported contents. The other substances account for small quantities in relation to these predominant substances.

According to the Swedish Chemicals Agency Product Register, the use of dibutyltin dilaurate, BHT, 2-butanonoxime and naphthalene was higher than the corresponding use in flooring and panel material. In the case of the other substances, their use in flooring and carpets and panel materials, according to the Product Register, exceeded the other figures by a factor of 4 – 1,300,000. This could be interpreted as the larger share of the hazardous substances used in construction articles originating from elsewhere than the EU or as the content specified in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases being overestimated, especially taking into account that, in this summary, the consultant has assumed that all “less than” values represent the actual contents. It may also relate to a combination of these factors, which is confirmed by making a comparison between imported products and the net supply (see Table 8), which shows that approx. 13% of flooring and carpets and 30% of wooden panels are imported. To obtain a better estimate, construction companies need to report the actual contents in the article instead of “less than” values.

28 The Combined Nomenclature (CN) is used by all EU countries in their foreign trade statistics and also in the EU’s Common Customs Tariff. CN 8 (eight-digit article codes) is the most detailed level for classifying articles in foreign trade statistics.

29According to the calculation:

Mi,Ais the total quantity of a substance i added to the Swedish technosphere every year via article group A,

where MA is the total net supply from article group A per year, based on Sweden’s trade statistics (flooring 2,300,000 tonnes, wooden panels 2,400,000 tonnes and plasterboard 470,000 tonnes), see Table 8. Ni,A is the number of registered products from article group A containing substance i, according to the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases. NA is the total number of registered products from article group A in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases, according to a manual search by product codes, whereas Ci,A is the concentration (%) of substance i in article group A according to the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases. This calculation is based on the assumption that the proportion of article group A containing substance i according to the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases is representative of the whole construction market in Sweden, and that the concentration specified in the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen as a <- value is the actual concentration. Figure shows the result from these calculations as an average with an interval in the cases where the reported contents vary among different products, compared with the reported total use according to the Product Register.

Figure 2: Estimated annual average net supply of hazardous substances in the article categories Flooring and carpets and Panel materials for the indoor environment, based on information from the SundaHus and Byggvarubedömningen databases, compared with the reported total use according to the Product Register. The error bars show the minimum and maximum values based on reported content. Note that the scale on the y-axis is logarithmic.

In document Hazardous chemicals in construction products (Page 31-36)