ASTM International Committee F40 on Declarable Substances in Materials has recently approved its second standard, F 2577, Guide for Assessment of Materials and Products for Declarable Substances. The guide, which is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F40.02 on Management Practices and Guides, follows F 2576, Terminology Relating to Declarable Substance in Materials, which was approved in June 2006.
According to Timothy McGrady, chairman, Committee F40, and president, Serious Science, Committee F40 was organized in 2005 to assist global industry regarding the regulation of substances in materials. The committee was formed in response to legislation that restricts the concentrations of certain substances allowable within materials and products. The most prominent of these regulations are European Union directives on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS), end-of-life vehicles (ELV) and packaging and package waste.
“Unfortunately, these regulations and materials declarations have caused a great deal of superfluous testing and data gathering because the lists of declarable substances are general in nature but are being applied to individual materials without regard to the particular nature of those materials,” says McGrady. “For example, a list of declarable substances may contain hundreds of organic substances such as dioxins, furan, PCBs, PBBs and PBDEs, but those substances are not ingredients or contaminants within wrought metals; yet enforcement authorities or purchasing agents may require empirical data that wrought metals do not contain such substances.”
Guide F 2577 provides a general description of the process of assessing materials or products to substance declaration requirements. In addition, the guide introduces an alternate means of assessing materials other than testing or gathering empirical data: the use of a priori knowledge, that is, information that can be gained through the application of scientific principles and logical deduction.
“A priori information on materials is often common sense to materials scientists, but it is not common knowledge among the general public, particularly those who are requesting information on products,” says McGrady. “Using the wrought metals example, it is a priori knowledge that allows us to discount the need to gather empirical data on organic substances within wrought metal materials.”
The new F40 guide minimizes testing to just those substances that may be present in the material being evaluated. In addition, Guide F 2577 provides a template and case studies to illustrate the process of assessing materials and products for compliance with declarable substances requirements.
McGrady encourages participation from interested parties in future revisions to F 2577. “We expect F 2577 to be updated with new information as regulations propagate and we are looking for good case studies to add to the guide,” says McGrady.
In addition, McGrady notes that participants are welcome in the development of new F40 standards. “F 2577 is a good first step for Committee F40, and I think it will be useful to end users,” says McGrady. “But there will be more standards coming, including test methods and other guides to help industry meet the challenges posed by declarable substances regulations.”
Technical Information: Timothy McGrady, Serious Science, Cortland, N.Y.
ASTM Staff: Brynn Iwanowski
April Committee Week