Cast elastomer groups active in developing MOCA replacements
Report by Liz White, UTI editor
The situation for use of the polyurethane elastomer curative MOCA (methyl-bis-chloroaniline) in Europe is getting more difficult.
ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, is considering adding the curative to its candidate list of SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern), which will need authorisation to use. At present ECHA is consulting on the move.
At Chemtura, Mark Moody, marketing manager in EMEA for Adiprene/Vibrathane, noted that "anything on the SVHC list has the potential to become authorised eventually," although that hasn't happened yet.
For Baule, Philippe Jeantin, managing director, said, "I think MOCA is not more dangerous today than it was ten years ago - and the way people are handling it is much better." He noted that there is nevertheless pressure on BaulŽ and all the small moulders.
Any trend away from MOCA in Europe is slow, he said, noting the reality: that "MOCA is still widely used."
"We can help users handle it with the highest possible standards. We are, as part of Bayer, at the forefront with high H&S standards for MOCA," the Baule expert said. And he stressed, "We are still very active in finding alternatives."
Because of this heightened awareness around MOCA, "what we are trying to do is offer them alternatives," said Matthew Hellstern, Chemtura's general manager/president urethanes. "We are working with the customers so that they have solutions that can be compliant going forward," Hellstern said.
Stephen Lewis, business director, EMEA for Adiprene/Vibrathane, noted that Chemtura can offer a range of alternatives at present, adding that MOCA use has cost/performance benefits. This probably explains why a significant number of people are still using MOCA in Europe.
Like Baule, Moody said that Chemtura has the tools and skills to handle the material well and to enable customers to do the same.
Hellstern said that there is greater awareness now of the alternatives, especially for high-performance applications, but noted that, "If we were looking for replacements for curatives, then there is no drop-in replacement, to give the same cost/benefit ratio.