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Material emissions legislation in the EU – is your company ready?

Monday, 19 September 2011 at 10:08:AM
Caroline Widdowson

What will the upcoming EU Construction Products Regulation mean for materials manufacturers, testing laboratories, and the GC(MS) industry?

Concerns about air quality used to be associated just with outdoor air, but as this has got cleaner, attention has shifted to the quality of indoor air. Clearly, the most troublesome VOCs from indoor materials are those that are both toxic and widespread, and manufacturers are already under pressure to reduce or eliminate such chemicals from their products.

In the EU, this pressure is about to increase substantially, due to the implementation of the Construction Product Regulation (CPR). The upshot of this is that, from 1st July 2013, manufacturers wishing to CE-mark their construction products for sale in the EU will need to have their products tested by accredited third-party test labs using the harmonised methods. Significantly, they’ll also need to carry out in-house checks and controls to demonstrate ongoing conformity of their products – something that may well come as a bit of a shock to the system!

The implications for manufacturers of construction products in the EU and elsewhere are clear – unless they adapt to the new regulations, they will not be able to obtain the necessary labels to sell their products. It would be wrong of manufacturers to view this in a negative light, however – on the contrary, it is an excellent opportunity for product improvement and innovation. Even now, some companies are making low chemical emissions a key selling point of their products, and this is something that we can expect to see a lot more of in the future.

So what does this mean for those involved in chemical emissions testing and supply of TD–GC(MS) equipment? The effects will be twofold – small producers will be looking to third-party laboratories to provide a quick, simple and affordable screening service to evaluate prototype products and raw materials, while larger manufacturers will be more likely to invest in test equipment for routine in-house checks. Clearly, then, those involved in all areas of TD–GC(MS) would be well-advised to consider how the requirement for increased testing will affect their business. The methodology and tools for meeting the requirements of the incoming regulations already exist – the challenge will be in making sure that they’re available to the people who need it.

Caroline Widdowson, Markes' Material Emissions Application Specialist



Notes

This blog post is an abridged version of an article that appeared in Separation Science in August 2011. For the full version, which also includes a discussion of the latest developments in the US, please see http://www.sepscience.com/emails/SepSci0811EU.pdf#page=2

 

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