Helsinki - Evidence for classifying the flame retardant diantimony trioxide as a skin irritant is not sufficient, according to ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency). Hence the group's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) does not support a proposal by the Swedish authorities for the EU-wide classification and labelling of the material as a skin irritant.
The agency said in a 6 July 2009 statement that it will submit this opinion to the European Commission for their decision.
According to ECHA, the committee did not support the classification of 'irritating to skin' "because special conditions, "namely, substantial heat and sweat, were required in addition to chemical exposure, in all the cases where skin effects had been described in workplace observations. Furthermore, it was unclear whether DAT was the only chemical substance to which these workers had been exposed."
Despite this, RAC recommends that the relevant authorities and/or industry adequately control the risks of any adverse effects to workers who are exposed in hot, sweaty conditions to fumes or dust containing DAT.
DAT is, however, classified as a carcinogen (category 3, in Annexe I to Directive 67/548/EEC) and suppliers need to continue to classify and label the material accordingly, ECHA pointed out.
DAT's main uses of DAT are as a flame-retardant, a catalyst in PET production, in pigments, paint and ceramics and as an additive in the manufacture of glass.