COVENTRY, UK — The British Coatings Federation (BCF) is calling for delay and rethink on the potential impact of new Poison Centre regulations on the coatings and inks sector.

The BCF has written to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive highlighting the major concerns for the coatings and printing ink industries, following publication of an independent study of new EU Poison Centre legislation that could fundamentally alter the coatings and printing ink sector.

BCF CEO, Tom Bowtell, commented, “The recent workability study, commissioned by the EU itself, has shown the hugely disproportionate and crippling cost of implementing the new Poison Centre regulation, set to come into force on January 1st next year.”

A Poison Centre is another name for a helpline for medical professionals to find out information about the chemical makeup of products, and an EU-wide database is being planned to store this information for emergency health response.

A three-hundred-fold increase in the number of notifications to Poison Centers is predicted for the paints, coatings and ink sector - 44.5 million notifications - with an estimated bill of €9 billion for the sector across the EU. The BCF predicts that such a cost would bankrupt the industry. According to the Wood report, commissioned by the Department for Economic Growth (DG GROW) in the European Commission, the sector only turns over €40 billion.

 “We are of course in favor of having clear information available for doctors to be able to treat patients who may have accidentally swallowed one of our members' products, but there has to be a simpler and more cost-effective way,” said Wayne Smith, BCF’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

According to the BCF, the key issue is the requirement for every paint or formula to have a unique identifier. The BFC sees this as unnecessary given the similar chemical makeup of the majority of formulas in each product range. “This needs sorting out, and the regulation must be delayed until pragmatic solutions are agreed,” said Bowtell.

The BCF and other coatings and ink associations across Europe are writing to their authorities to highlight the problem. “We hope that common sense will prevail, and the new legislation delayed until more practical solutions are found,” Bowtell concluded.