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news ECHA considers cadmium ban

The European Commission has asked the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to examine the case for expand- ing REACH restric- tions on cadmium to cover all plastics materials. Annex XVII of the chemicals legislation currently list 16 specific plastics materials where cadmium is restricted. The ECHA is asking for

evidence to help identify the impact of this potential expansion. Comments from interested parties need to be submitted by 11 February 2013

European users of cadmium in plastics should contact the ECHA quickly

using an online question-

naire which can be accessed at The 16 resins covered by

existing restrictions on the use of cadmium as a colorant include PVC, PUR, LDPE, PET, PS, PP and XLPE. However, there is an exemption for LDPE masterbatch.

Further restrictions apply to the use of cadmium as a stabilizer in PVC compounds used in a range of applications including: packaging materials; office and school supplies; furniture fittings; apparel and clothing accessories; floor and wall coverings; textile fabrics; imitation leather; gramophone records; tubes, pipes and their fittings; swing doors; road vehicle components; steel sheet coating; and wiring insulation. For any colorant and

stabilization applications which escape the above limitations, there is still a limit of 0.1% cadmium metal by weight in finished plastics articles. The

Graphene growth could fall short

Demand for graphene is predicted to grow at 40% per year from US$9 million in 2012 to reach US$126 million in 2020, according to a new report from Lux Research. The study says that this growth is less than some of the hype surrounding the “wunderkind material” might suggest, drawing potential parallels with the commercialisation of carbon nanotubes. It forecasts that the bulk of

the market will belong to graphene nanoplatelets, used mainly in composites and energy storage applications. Despite being a hot research area, the commercialisation of graphene films will be delayed by a large number of technical and economic challenges, says the study. “The rocky history of carbon nanotubes shows that a


restrictions do not apply to articles “coloured for safety reasons”. Some cadmium compounds

are still used as pigments in plastics, and industry associa- tions say that suitable alternatives may not be available for certain applica- tions, such as colouring engineering plastics. They include cadmium zinc sulphide yellow, cadmium sulphosel- enide red and cadmium sulphoselenide orange. Further background informa- tion, including the full Annex XVII document can be read at: ❙

Clariant sells off divisions

Clariant is selling off three of its non-core businesses to the US private invest- ment firm SK Capital for a total of CHF502 million (€405 million).

The deal includes

Despite being hyped a “wunderkind material”, Graphene still faces hurdles to commercial success

research and patent boom along with impressive technical performance is far from a guarantee of commer- cial success,” said Ross Kozar- sky, Lux Research senior analyst and the lead author of the new report. “Major challenges like high costs, processing issues, and


competing materials loom large,” he added. The report, which is entitled

‘Is Graphene the Next Silicon ... Or Just the Next Carbon Nanotube?’, identifies XG and Vorbeck as leading players among the graphene nano- platelet start-ups. ❙

Clariant’s Textile Chemi- cals, Paper Specialities and Emulsions businesses. It is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2013. The company announced

in early 2012 that it was considering options for these business lines. It is still carrying out the review process for Leather Services and Detergents & Intermediates. ❙

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