The commitment of FEPA is to reduce the impact of the European abrasive industry on the environment and continue to guarantee the safety of the workers. The Federation promotes environmental awareness among its members by providing guidance to abrasive manufacturers on European environmental legislations and their impact on operations.
Through its network of partnerships, FEPA clearly defines its position on environmental policies and chemical dossiers, generate studies to provide data to authorities and back-up their position, as well as sponsor and launch thought-provoking projects to bring forward the European abrasive industry.
An eye on the future, FEPA launched in 2020 SEAM, Sustainable European Abrasive Manufacturers. This program, only available to FEPA Members, provide to companies enroll in it a roadmap to continuously improve their production processes and become more sustainable.
Setting targets according to the three pillars of sustainability, the guidance it provides includes but is not limited to:
• Preventing pollution and reducing consumption of resources through waste management strategies that promote waste minimization re-use, recovery and recycling.
• Incorporating energy efficiency measures into the plant’s facilities and promoting efficient energy use in all areas of business activity.
• Ensuring abrasive manufacturers are aware of the environmental impacts of their work activities and encourage them through regular awareness and training to minimize those impacts.
• Promoting the protection and enhancement of safety in the workplace through employee awareness programs and stakeholder engagement
• Promoting and continuing to invest in sustainable technologies that provide alternatives to the market
• Encouraging procurement program which takes into account the environmental impact of products and services, transportation cost, and supports the purchase of energy-efficient products.
Health, Safety & Environment (HSE)
The tenants of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) are a standard for the European abrasive industry, deeply embedded in the business and operational culture.
FEPA monitors the regulations and policies pertaining to HSE, identifies the HSE areas involving the abrasive industry and makes the link between authorities and the Federation’s members. Working with European authorities, FEPA develops positions that represent the view of the abrasive industry, take into account the imperatives of authorities and the framework of regulations, and provide a practical balance to HSE policies.
The REACH Regulation entered into force in 2007 and has gone through three registration phases with the last one ending on May 31st, 2018.
“Classic Abrasive Products”, coated abrasives, non-woven abrasives, bonded abrasives, superabrasives, are articles. There is no intended release from abrasive articles.
Abrasives, therefore, are excluded from the obligation to register and notify substances in articles (REACH Regulation – Article 7) and provide a ‘Safety Data Sheet’ (SDS) (REACH Regulation – Article 31).
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 – REACH
See the communication from European abrasive producers, members of FEPA to its customers and downstream users about SDS and VPI in Europe.
The BREF Ceramic (CER) covers industrial installations for the manufacture of ceramic products by firing stoneware and porcelain.
This industrial sector encompasses a wide range of raw materials and manufacturing techniques, but all involve the selection of clays or other mainly inorganic materials which are processed, dried and fired. One of the major sectors identified that relates to the abrasive industry and based on the ceramic products manufactured is inorganic bonded abrasives.
Published in 2007, the BREF Ceramic is under review since late 2019. FEPA is a member of the Technical Working Group (TWG), led by the European Integrated Pollution Prevention Control Bureau (IPPC Bureau), as well as the Article 13 Forum of Directorate-General Environment (DG ENVI).
FEPA’s membership currently does not count among its rank any production plant of inorganic bonded abrasives, fulfilling the criteria of an IED installation, currently reviewed under BREF CER. Thus, abrasive companies are technically out of the scope of the extensive data collection required by the development of the documents. FEPA cannot propose any reference installations for the data collection process.
Nevertheless, FEPA will support the process by reviewing the existing documents and the provision of updates when required. This might include the deletion of described technologies which are no longer used in the abrasive industry or an update of the process description.
The use of chemicals provides valuable social and economic benefits, including innovative materials, medical discoveries, improved public health, and enhanced quality of life. However, working with chemicals involves some degree of risk.
FEPA promotes a thoughtful and educated approach to chemical safety where members recognize their obligation to protect the safety and health of individuals and the environment.
The European abrasive industry believes that minimizing risk while optimizing benefits should continue throughout investigation, development, marketing, use, and recycling or disposal of products and by-products
To guarantee that registration requirements for diamond and Cubic Boron Nitride (cBN) set by the REACH regulation are fulfilled in the most timely and cost-effective manner, a REACH consortium for diamond and cBN was established in 2009 under the administration of FEPA.
The objective was to assist producers and/or importers of Diamond and/or cBN (FEPA members and non-members) to register these substances by streamlining the process.
The registration deadline has passed and the activities of the consortium are winding down. The consortium for both substances is expected to close by end of 2024.
Letters of access granting access to the joint submission are still available for companies holding registration obligations for diamond and/or cBN in Europe.
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Under the framework of the REACH Regulation, UK Authorities have evaluated naphthalene (the final report was published end of 2018), and came to the conclusion that an EU-wide binding occupational limit value for naphthalene must be implemented (value should be < 10 mg/m3) and that additional information are required from the lead registrant, which is part of the consortium “REACH for Coal Chemicals (R4CC).”
In the evaluation report, UK authorities explicitly request an update of the existing exposure scenario for the use of naphthalene in the abrasive industry, so that safe working practices are documented unambiguously.
The use of naphthalene in the abrasive industry is covered by the lead registration dossier submitted in 2010. The exposure assessment was prepared by the abrasive industry.
FEPA coordinates all activities of the European abrasive industry pertaining to Naphthalene: administrative, data collection and aggregation, communication with R4CC or other stakeholders.
In 2018, the European Commission adopted amendments to the REACH Annexes with regard to registration requirements for nanomaterials. As of 2020, REACH registration dossiers will have to include more detailed information on nanomaterials and update guidance documents in a consultation involving a Partner Expert Group (PEG).
PEGs are composed not only of individual experts who provide the best possible scientific advice to ECHA in the Guidance Consultation Procedure, but also of representatives acting on behalf of their nominating organisation or Member State. The nomination of PEG members according to predefined criteria aims at ensuring its well-balanced composition.
As in 2018, FEPA nominated an expert for the PEG for consultation on the update of the Guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment for nanomaterials.