The UK Government has set up new laws for the use of products containing more than 0.1% of monomeric diisocyanates, including polyurethane products such as adhesives, sealants, coatings or injections used in industrial production or construction. Here you can access the required PU training and find alternative products available in Sika's product range.

Fitter performing an auto glass replacement with Sikaflex 255 Extra
Hand applying joint sealant to concrete building with Sikaflex cartridge

What is REACH

What REACH Stands For

"Adopted in 2006, REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation. It is a UK Government regulation that aims at improving the protection of human health and the environment from potential risks from chemical substances, while ensuring the UK chemical industry’s global competitiveness is maintained." *

New REACH Regulations

The UK Government has put in force a new restriction on the use of products containing more than 0.1% of monomeric diisocyanates. These new rules will also apply to products such as polyurethane adhesives, sealants and foams used in industrial production and construction work.

Beginning on August 24, 2023, all professionals and industrial users must complete a training before using such products. DIY users are not affected by this law.

Why is it Important?

When working with chemicals like adhesives and sealants, the precautions given in their safety data sheets are important to protect the health and safety of the users. One-component polyurethane adhesives and sealants cure by reaction with atmospheric moisture. This reaction is based on crosslinking of the pre-polymers through their isocyanate groups.

When applying such polyurethane products, users may be exposed to minimal amounts of unreacted monomeric diisocyanates that were used in the production of such pre-polymers. Once fully cured however, the diisocyanates have reacted and the final compounds are completely free of these reactive chemicals.

*Source: Isopa

 

Free PU Training Access

Antarctic Heritage Trust and High performance sealant to stop roof from leaking. Joint sealing.

By following the link below, you can receive training and certification for the safe handling of diisocyanates according to the legal training requirements of the REACH regulation.

The web-based training platform contains various sections. The training selector can be used for guidance to the correct training according to products and applications.

To access the free training program, please register to receive the code on your email.

 

Find Alternative Products without Training

Sika, as the leading producer of polyurethane-based sealants and adhesives, takes the health and safety of users of Sikaflex®, SikaBond®, SikaTack® and Sika Boom® products very seriously. This has led to the development of a new range of polyurethane pre-polymers with ultra-low monomer content, in order to allow continued, unrestricted use of our products by professionals.

Sika Purform® Pure Performance red logo

With Purform®, Sika has developed a set of new polyurethane pre-polymer backbones. All Purform® products have ultra-low free monomeric diisocyanate content in addition to their other product specific advantages. Purform® technology enables users to benefit from the unique performance of polyurethane, while eliminating the need for this specific REACH health and safety training. The exposure of users will be significantly reduced and limited to the very minimum.

By using Purform® technology for higher-performance polyurethane adhesives and sealants with ultra-low diisocyanate monomer content, we can meet the challenges of tomorrow, today.

Purform® is Pure

The purity aspect reflects our ability to engineer pure pre-polymers. The new Purform® pre-polymers allow the development of products with better performance, while reducing the diisocyanate monomer content to below the threshold level of the REACH restriction.

Purform® is Performance

Sika engineers developed these new products with the Purform® pre-polymers to give the performance you need to meet the challenges of tomorrow, such as more durable sealants and adhesives. They contribute to sustainability with energy saving and lower fuel consumption, while also being safer to apply for users.

Purform® is a Better Polyurethane

The superiority of polyurethane materials lies in their unique microstructure of fluid / flexible and cured / hardened phases, which can all be adjusted according to requirements. The new Purform® technology is highly versatile, which enables us to create high performance, reliable and durable polyurethane adhesives and sealants. The new Purform® technology makes Sikaflex®, SikaBond®, SikaTack® and Sika Boom® systems even better.

Safe Use of Polyurethane Products

When applying polyurethane products, users may be exposed to minimal amounts of unreacted monomeric diisocyanates that were used in the production of such pre-polymers. Once the product is fully cured, however, the diisocyanates have reacted and the final compounds are completely free of these reactive chemicals.

With Purform®, Sika has developed a technology to further reduce residual monomeric diisocyanates below the threshold of 0.1%. This allows users a safe use of polyurethane products without REACH restrictions.

  Regular Polyurethanes Sika Purform® Polyurethanes
Content of diisocyanate monomers > 0.1 wt% < 0.1 wt%
Training (as per REACH) Yes No
Additional Cost for Using Yes No
* depending on other ingredients
   

FAQ

What are diisocyanates?

Diisocyanates are mainly used to make polyurethane products, such as rigid and flexible foams, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers. They are present in liquid and pasty products to varying degrees but react completely with ambient humidity and are therefore no longer present in finished, cured polyurethane products.

Will polyurethane products be prohibited under the new REACH restriction?

The restriction does not prohibit either the sale or use of PU products.

Some products within Sika’s full range of products will be subject to this new REACH restriction.

Which products are affected by this restriction?

The restriction applies to all products that contain more than 0.1% monomeric diisocyanates. Generally, this is the case for most polyurethane products currently on the market, e.g., adhesives, sealants, coatings, flooring, etc. It is important to point out that cured products in their finished state no longer contain isocyanates and that the restriction does not apply to them. It also does not apply to products with very low amounts of residual diisocyanate, e.g., Sika’s polyurethane Purform® range of products.

What is the aim of this restriction?

Occupational health incident registers throughout Europe regularly record precise, albeit low, annual numbers of asthma cases related to work with diisocyanates. In 2012, the German authority BAuA started to work on a regulation aimed at significantly reducing these numbers. Diisocyanates can be handled safely if adequate handling and risk management measures are in place. However, a single incident can sensitize a person to diisocyanates which, from this point onward, can then induce asthma at even the lowest concentrations. The best way to manage such a risk is to educate everybody working with diisocyanates on how to handle them properly.

What legal restrictions apply to distributors, users, and their employers?

The restriction ensures that everybody handling diisocyanates professionally has been trained on their properties and the safe handling requirements before using them. It has two parts: one applies to the manufacturers of PU products and the other to professional users.

  1. To sell a product affected by the restriction, the training requirement needs to be mentioned on the label and the supplier must provide the customer with information about where or how to obtain the required training.
  2. To use a product affected by the restriction, the employer must document that the user has undertaken successful training.
Is there a timeline for introducing the training?

February 24, 2022: Products subject to the restriction need to be labelled accordingly.

August 24, 2023: Training needs to be undertaken before affected products are used.

The training is valid for five years, after which it will need to be renewed.

Who can give this mandatory training?

The legal text lists the topics to be covered and requires the training to be adjusted to the application process. It can be done either online or in person. The trainer needs to have vocational training in occupational safety and health. The industry associations of the diisocyanate supply chain have developed training material according to these requirements and are providing the training online via a public Internet platform. Trainers can also get access to this training material via the same website.

Will Sika provide training for their customers?

There is no plan to provide specific diisocyanate training for Sika customers. Sika is helping customers to complete the training online by providing a coupon code for free training access.

How do I know whether I have to complete this training?

You must complete the training if you are using a product with more than 0.1% diisocyanates in a professional or industrial setting. Every product subject to this restriction is required to carry the following phrase on its packaging:

“As of August 24, 2023, adequate training is required before industrial or professional use.”

Sika is also adding this phrase to section two of its safety data sheet and further information regarding access to online training in the product data sheet.

Private users (consumers) do not need this training.

Who is responsible for ensuring that users are trained, and who will enforce this?

The employer of the user or the self-employed user is responsible for ensuring completion of the training and documenting successful participation. National REACH inspectors can check this documentation.