Arkema places the protection of its employees, customers, consumers and the environment at the heart of its concerns.
In the case of carbon nanotubes, the effects of these products on health and the environment have yet to be established and the existence of potential hazards by various routes, inhalation in particular, cannot be discarded. In the light of these uncertainties, the Arkema group is developing specific actions firstly to prevent dissemination and exposure risks, and secondly to complete its understanding and knowledge of the toxicological and ecotoxicological profile of its Graphistrength® multi-wall carbon nanotubes.
Meanwhile, the Arkema group has chosen to adopt a fully transparent communication policy concerning the validated data to hand on hygiene, health and environmental aspects.
Safe handling of Graphistrength® powder
It should be noted that Graphistrength® powder contains multi-wall carbon nanotubes clustered into balls with a large average diameter of the order of several hundreds of micrometers. This characteristic considerably reduces the possibility of any airborne spreading during the handling of Graphistrength® powders and therefore significantly cuts down any related risk of inhalation.
However, likelihood of exposure to carbon nanotubes has been greatest when used in powder form. The Arkema group is therefore developing as a matter of priority solid masterbatches products in which carbon nanotubes have already been dispersed in a matrix.
A large number of toxicological and ecotoxicological studies underway
In order to fulfill all regulatory requirements, Arkema commissions independent laboratories to conduct toxicity studies on Graphistrength® multi-wall carbon nanotubes based on the protocols recognized by the OECD relating to chemical products.
The Arkema group has also set up in France, as part of the Genesis program , a “laboratoire commun de recherche” (joint research laboratory) with CNRS, the Paul Sabatier University and the Toulouse institut national polytechnique (National polytechnic institute), dedicated to ecotoxicological studies on carbon nanotubes. The chief mission of this laboratory was to measure the impact of carbon nanotubes on aquatic species, and to play a role in helping develop new standardized methods.
Finally, the Arkema group cooperates with various expert bodies to assess the impact of the use of carbon nanotubes in terms of:
- hygiene at the workplace
- industrial safety
The REACH registration of Graphistrength® had been done in 2011.
The premanufacture notice (PMN) had been obtained at EPA.