Paxymer newsletter July 2014


How nudging drives substitution that leads to new business opportunities

The last few months have been exciting for us at Paxymer. An emerging application for Paxymers FR systems is WPC materials – wood composite plastics with polyolefin base. In order to decrease the waste of paper and wood the industries put the scrap into use instead. Our development focus is on gaining an even deeper understanding of the complex mechanisms in the polymer degradation process in a burn situation. This will lead to a third generation of Paxymer formulations with even higher efficiency and even lower influence on mechanical properties.

There was recently a new report released by the European union on the societal cost of EDCs – it was estimated to a staggering €31 bn yearly. The report also points to electrical and electronic applications as the main culprit in causing EDC exposure. Yet another reason to consider non-hazardous FRs! During a lecture that I gave on Entrepreneurship Week in Sweden in June, I emphasised the challenge that manufacturing companies are facing. Evaluating alternatives from all aspects; commercial, functional, environmental etc. is a daunting task, especially making sure that the investments in substitution are not just made to another toxic product but actually solves the issue. Therefore the first part of this newsletter is dedicated to tools that can help manufacturers with simplified evaluations for new products. GreenScreen and Chemical Alternatives Assessment (CAA) that we describe below are part of a new trend that is taking hold – evaluation of groups of chemicals based on the raw materials rather than individual compounds.

I recently came across a newly coined term that describes the evolution of our market: Nudging. The assessment tools, the gradual changes in legislation (see below) and the rising interest in WPC materials are all part of the inevitable “nudging” towards a greener, more sustainable economy. There might not be a heroic substitution of all hazardous products at once, but how long do you dare wait until you start with your first real effort? Imagine what new applications and industries you could reach if you had a green range in your portfolio.

/ Amit Paul, MD of Paxymer AB

Self Assessment leads to active substitution leads to increased market share leads to…..

Chemical companies have started to include systematic approaches to evaluating and reducing hazardous chemicals in their reporting. Your organization could also benefit by substituting to sustainable materials. Here are some inexpensive tools to help you get started.

The GreenScreen assessment – Assessing the safety 
GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals is a method for comparative Chemical Hazard Assessment (CHA) that can be used for identifying chemicals of high concern and safer alternatives. In GreenScreen you can make a simplified so called list screening on relevant already existing information based on published chemical hazards. This provides a basic understanding of potential hazardous effects on a number of parameters; environmental fate and health, human health from carcinogenetic, endocrine activity to toxicity as well as physical hazards. One concrete use is the system’s connection to the building products declaration tool LEEDs, a simple list screening can provide LEEDs credits. The simplified procedure does not take into account the risk of exposure in this instrument. This provides a quicker and more intuitive understanding of the risks in comparison to for instance REACH where you need to make extensive health, safety and environment testing and risk evaluation. 


Chemical Alternatives Assessment (CAA) is another way to avoid chemical hazards in the future. Chemical alternatives assessment (CAA) provides a hazard-focused approach to distinguishing between possible substitutions. By grouping chemicals according to functional use, some information on exposure potential can be inferred, allowing for decisions based on those hazard properties that are most distinguishing. This approach can help prevent the “regrettable substitution” of one chemical with another of equal, or even higher, risk. 
source: issue no 41.

Paxymer comments: This is highly relevant when considering flame retardants, most current FR´s consists of hazardous chemicals. Legislators are incorporating the precautionary principle through implementation of these types of quick evaluation tools that evaluate groups of chemicals rather than specific compounds as an addition to other evaluation mechanisms. There are nonhazardous FRs, such as Paxymer, available in the market for many different applications.

SUBSport helps you to achieve substitution

Another related initiative is SUBSport where good examples of substitution from hazardous to non-hazardous chemicals are showcased. The idea is that substitution to greener products will reduce risks to environment, workers, consumers and public health. The cases provide inspiration and actual solutions to problems utilizing greener solutions.

SINnovation day 8 October organized by ChemSEc 

ChemSec will organize a substitution seminar on “SINnovation” – keys for the Future on 8th of October in Brussels. “SINimilarity” is a new list stemming from the SIN list that is going to be presented in Brussels.
Source: Chemsec newsletter June 2014 

Other news

How much cost is our society willing to bear just because of hazardous chemicals?

We need to diminish the number of unnecessary chemicals in our surroundings especially hazardous chemicals such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The HEAL report (“Health costs in the European Union – How much is related to EDCs?) recently revealed that as much as €31 billion in EU health costs per year is caused by EDC exposure. The most common source of EDCs is electronic materials. Brominated and Antimony containing FRs are classified as EDCs. EDCs have been proven to cause many diseases and suffering, some of the more severe examples are: breast and prostate cancer; ADHD; reproductive and fertility problems, including low sperm count and abnormalities of the penis and testicles in baby boys, obesity and diabetes. The HEAL-report calls for an overhaul of EU legislation to reduce EDC exposure. 
Source: ChemSec Newsletter June 2014.

Four new substances added to the REACH candidate list of SVHC

There are now 155 substances on the candidate list with very high concern (SVHC´s). All of them may be considered for authorization under REACH and also subject to specific rules on information disclosure. Phtalate, cadmiumcloride and two different Boron substance groups are the new ones. Some are CMR-substances (Carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction) and others only repro-toxins. 
Source: ChemSec newsletter June 2014

BASF opposes ECHA´s proposal on prolonged use of the Flame retardant HBCD

HBCD is listed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by UNEP and will be banned in August 2015 in the REACH legislation. A consortium is requesting to continue to be able to use HBCD but BASF argues that authorizing such exceptions is unnecessary. HBCD is primarily used in Polystyrene insulating foams. The reason for BASF to react so strongly on the request might be that they have an alternative solution called PolyFR which is based on polybrominated FR.
Source: in june 2014

Certified Renewable Polyolefins now available

Sabic has launched certified renewable polyolefins such as PP and PE from waste oil and old grease. These raw materials do not compete with the food chain. Sabic makes internal Life Cycle Assessment and through a third party they assure that the mass balance system is not affected and they are striving for a sustainability certificate.
Source: may 2014; may 2014

EU-election might hamper environmental policy

The new mandates in the EU-parliament could make it harder to enforce environmental decisions, states Prof M Blomgren from Umeå University. The new constellation is believed to be less eager to constitute new laws and the parties that monitor the environment have fewer mandates then before. The consequences might not be that severe, but it is likely to slow the process down a little bit says S. Junker expert at Swedish Society for Nature Conservation within EU issues. 
Source: MiljoAktuellt Idag may 2014

We welcome you to use and refer to the information in this newsletter and are grateful if you mention the source.

Editor: Ann-Christin Paul,

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