BASF, one of the world’s largest pigment suppliers, will stop making lead chromate pigments by the end of 2014 and concentrate on developing and producing alternative products, the company has announced.
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|The regulatory screws are tightening worldwide on lead chromate pigments, used in corrosion inhibitors.|
The pigments, for the yellow and red color ranges, include those sold under the brand names Sicopal, Sicotan, Paliotan, T-Shade, Paliotol, Paliogen, Cromophtal, Irgalite, Cinquasia and Irgazin.
Coatings Industry Resists Change
Many alternatives are already available, says BASF. “We have for years been in … possession of a large portfolio of organic and inorganic pigments that represent excellent alternatives to lead chromate pigments,” said Stefan Sütterlin, Vice President, Business Management. Pigments Europe at BASF.
The problem: The coatings industry has resisted using those alternatives, since no “100 percent substitution” exists for lead-containing pigments.
To those concerns, BASF offers reassurance. “We are going to assist our customers, if they want us to, with the change-over,” said Joachim Straßner, head of marketing for pigments for industrial and decorative coatings of BASF in Europe.
“This means that we will help them plan their exit strategy, agree on the quantities that are to be phased out and the technical changeover.”
Long favored for their weather fastness, color strength and corrosion inhibiting properties, chromate pigments are one of BASF’s oldest product groups.
However, chromate pigments are becoming more tightly controlled worldwide. In Europe, chromic acid, most of the chromates used for chromate conversion and chromated primers are all being targeted by new REACH regulations for limited usage as of May 2015.
In the U.S., numerous federal laws already control the use of hexavalent chromium and trivalent chromium compounds.
The military is also moving away from the compounds. A 2009 Defense Department memo reported “serious human health and environmental risks related to” the use of hexavalent chromium and urged the military “to more aggressively mitigate the unique risks to DOD operations now posed by hexavalent chromium.”
And, a 2011 Defense Federal Acquisitions Regulations Supplement (DFARS) noted: “It is DOD policy to minimize hexavalent chromium” use as an anti-corrosive in deliverables and construction materials.
BASF produces lead chromate pigments exclusively at its site in Besigheim, Germany. That will become the site of future development and production of pigment alternatives.