Proposed cobalt reclassification raises concerns for metal powder users

October 18, 2017

It is anticipated that the January 2017 proposal for the EU Harmonised Classification of cobalt metal as a carcinogen, mutagen and reproductive toxicant will have significant ramifications for the metal powder processing industries, including Powder Metallurgy, Additive Manufacturing and Metal Injection Moulding.

During a keynote presentation at the EPMA’s European Hard Materials Group (EuroHM) open meeting, held during the 19th Plansee Seminar in Reutte, Austria,at the end of May 2017, Tuulia Svanehav of Sandvik Machining Solutions, Sweden, stated that as a reaction to new available data in 2013, the Cobalt Development Institute (CDI) in conjunction with the Cobalt REACH Consortium (CoRC) took the action to self-classify Co metal as a Category 1B carcinogen via inhalation.

As a consequence, under the rules of the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS – a UN initiative 2003), all mixtures containing > 0.1% Co metal carry the same carcinogenicity classification as pure Co.

 

Proposed cobalt reclassification raises concerns for metal powder users

Table 1 Proposal for EU classification of cobalt metal (From keynote paper: ‘Health and safety trends in hardmetal industry’ by Tuulia Svanehav, at the EuroHM Open Meeting, Reutte, 2017)

 

Svanehav stated that there is a proposal for harmonised classification of cobalt metal by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), as shown in Table 1. Because of the obligation to comply with the EU carcinogen and mutagen directive – the parts of proposed harmonised classification that are not in line with the current self-classification of Co metal and WC-Co mixtures – a burden is placed on industry in terms of striving towards closed production processes, where any contact with cobalt containing material is avoided, and seeking possible substitutes.

It is also expected that allowable occupational exposure limits for cobalt in inhalable form, either alone or as a mixture, will decrease substantially in the future. In 2016 a limit of 0.005 mg/m3 of Co was set in the USA, compared with 0.02 mg/m3 in 1993, and in Europe limits are expected to fall even further in the near future (Fig. 1).

 

Proposed cobalt reclassification raises concerns for metal powder users

Occupational exposure limit for cobalt alone or in hardmetal (from presentation by Tuulia Svanehav, EuroHM Open Meeting, Reutte, 2017)

 

Under REACH – the European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, which entered into force in 2007 – the responsibility for assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals (substances), such as cobalt, has moved from public authorities to industry through registration and self-classification. As before, industry also provides appropriate safety information (Safety Data Sheets, Labelling) for users of the relevant chemicals.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap