Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) are internationally regulated by the Montreal Protocol of 1987 and its succession amendments.

These are implemented into European legislation by the regulation EC 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, valid from 1.1.2010. This regulation supersedes the former regulation EC 2037/2000. Consult this Regulation here.

The new as well as the old regulation have no impact on the three chlorinated solvents DCM, TRI and PER and their use is not restricted in any means by this legislation. However, two other substances being manufactured by the producers of chlorinated solvents are affected, i.e. Carbon Tetrachloride (CTC) and, starting from 2010, Chloromethane or Methyl Chloride (MeCl).

CTC shows a stratospheric ozone depleting potential (ODP) of 1.1 (reference: R 11 = 1), therefore its manufacture, recycling, uses, volumes for certain uses, disposal, import and export of CTC (or mixtures or wastes containing CTC > 1 %) have been regulated since the implementation of ODS legislation. It is mainly used as an industrial intermediate and only a small fraction as a special solvent in a few industrial processes or as a laboratory solvent. It is no more allowed to use CTC for the synthesis of other ozone depletion substances like FCHCs (R11 o R12), HFCs, FBCs and halons which were used in previous times as refrigerants or fire extinguishing agents. Emissions during manufacture, transport, use and disposal must be minimised by application of strictly controlled conditions (closed systems).

Each participant in the whole supply chain is obliged to report annually relevant statistical data to the European and national authorities. For further details please see the ODS regulation EC 1005/2009 and the website of the European ODS secretariat. Additional national restrictions may exist in certain countries.

MeCl (methyl chloride) is almost exclusively used as an industrial intermediate and only a small fraction as a low temperature solvent in special industrial processes or as a laboratory reagent. It is virtually not relevant as an ODS due to its very low stratospheric ozone depleting potential (ODP) of 0.02 (reference: R 11 = 1) and its use under practically emission free strictly controlled conditions as MeCl is a gas (stored and transported pressure liquefied) that needs to be handled in closed systems.

Thus man-made industrial emissions are not relevant compared to the several million tons that are naturally produced by algae, bacteria, fungi and certain plants in the oceans and in soil all over the world.

MeCl is a 'new substance' under the ODS regulation meaning that its manufacture, use, import and export are not restricted in any way. Nevertheless, manufacturers, importers and exporters (but not users) of MeCl or mixtures containing > 1 % MeCl are obliged to report annually statistical data to the European and national authorities within the first quarter of a new year.

Revision: 06/2014

 

 

DCM & the Ozone Layer

November 2017 

Dichloromethane (DCM) is a highly Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) with a short atmospheric lifetime of only 0.4 years, hence defined as a Very Short Lived Substance (VSLS), but a negligible Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). Recent publications (e.g. Hossaini et al.) discussed the effect of DCM on the stratospheric ozone, which postulated a high future growth rate of global DCM production and emissions, which led to discussions to include DCM into the Montreal Protocol on the protection of the ozone layer. ECSA and HSIA have provided factual information on global production and emissions by industry, global natural production, behaviour and effect on the stratospheric ozone, and other regulatory developments at a UNEP meeting on the Montreal Protocol in Nov 2017 (available here), based on a scientific assessment of Archie McCulloch (full paper available here; a one-pager summary is also available here).


 

TRI Authorisations granted

September 2018

Trichloroethylene (TRI) can be used safely under controlled conditions. Five authorisations have been granted to BlueCube Germany (a subsidiary of Olin) to continue to produce TRI for specific uses, for example Industrial Parts Cleaning. Customers of this producer can use TRI for these applications under the conditions set by the EU Commission and the defined risk management measures.


 

UBA PMT criteria published

February 2018

The German Environment Agency (UBA, Umweltbundesamt) has published the assessment of "Persistence, Mobility and Toxicity (PMT)" with the desire to protect drinking water sources. Applying conservative criteria for PMT as defined by UBA, perchloroethylene (PER) and trichloroethylene (TRI) appear as number 2 and 3 on the report. UBA also aims to establish PMT as an equivalent concern to identify SVHC substance for authorisation under REACH. ECSA does not consider SVHC identification using PMT criteria as the appropriate tool to improve drinking water quality due to this being a pure hazard based approach and thus does not consider risk. TRI is already listed in Annex XIV (authorisation) and today PER is handled almost exclusively in closed systems with no intentional emission to water or soil. For further information see the ECSA position paper on PER here.


 

New Study on Dichloromethane

February 2018

Together with HSIA, ECSA supported a study to clarify the mode of action of cancer formation for Dichloromethane (DCM). The study results have been published end of 2018. The outcome of the study shows that below the threshold there is no risk of cancer formation related to DCM.

The full paper is available here.