Working safely with and without diisocyanates

Diisocyanates can have a major negative impact on the applicator’s health. This is why the European Commission published a restriction under REACH for working with products that contain more than 0.1% free monomeric diisocyanate. Fortunately, most SABA products do not contain this substance. SABA’s products are generally based on MS polymer technologies or polysulphides that do not contain any (di)isocyanates. Effective from 24 February 2022, new restrictions apply to the few products that do contain this substance. We would like to explain what these restrictions mean for you and how to handle these products. We also provide solutions by offering you diisocyanate-free products.

Michel Menting
Author Michel Menting Technical Product Manager

The risks associated with diisocyanates

Depending on the type, diisocyanates are known as irritating substances that are hazardous for eyes and at the same time can cause the airways to become sensitive. This means that a person who is exposed to this substance can become allergic to it and with any subsequent contact (even at very low concentrations) may experience a severe allergic reaction with sever breathing problems as a result.

What are diisocyanates used for?

Diisocyanates are the basic components of polyurethane (PU) and polyurea. These are used to manufacture many different products, including adhesives and sealants. Diisocyanates are released during the application of these products, which means that the applicator is directly exposed to these substances. This can adversely affect one’s health. The application of diisocyanates is safe, however, when they are processed in accordance with the relevant safety measures. This is why the new European regulations stipulate that applicators must be trained in working safely with diisocyanates, so that the applicator’s health is protected.

New restrictions under REACH

On 3 August 2020, the European Commission reinforced the restrictions under REACH to limit the use of polyurethane adhesives and sealants that contain more than 0.1% free monomeric diisocyanate. The restriction means that as of 24 February 2022, producers of adhesives and sealants must indicate that the product contains more than 0.1% diisocyanates on the product’s label.

In addition, effective from 24 August 2023, professional and industrial employees must successfully complete a training course on the safe use of diisocyanates every five years. This course must deal with various topics, including risks and the associated risk mitigation and safety measures.

A safe solution

SABA’s products are generally based on other polymer technologies and therefore do not contain any (di)isocyanates. This means that the products can be used safely, without any health risks. The new REACH restrictions therefore do not apply to most of our products. For customers of a few of our products to which this does apply, we offer the required training, free of charge, via Feica. This makes it possible to work safely with our products that do contain diisocyanates. For additional information about this training, please contact us.


Alternative products

In some situations it is possible to choose a safer alternative. Products that contain diisocyanates can often be replaced by products based on MS polymer technology. SABA’s MS polymer-based products do not contain diisocyanates, silicon and CMR substances and are far more beneficial to health. These products are recognizable from the SABA ‘a sustainable bond’ quality mark. This quality mark is attributed to products that have a significantly lower impact on people and the environment, without compromising on quality. We look forward to assisting you in your search for alternative products! Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the available options.

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