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May/June 2010

Environment, Health and Safety

An increased interest in the polyaromatic hydrocarbon content of carbon black, particularly in Europe, and new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to report greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. industry, including carbon black plants, has led to the formation of a new ASTM subcommittee. Subcommittee D24.66 on Environment, Health and Safety is part of ASTM International Committee D24 on Carbon Black.

Polycyclic aromatic content can be found in materials that come in contact with food.

According to Ricky Magee, director, technology laboratory, Columbian Chemicals Co., and chairman of D24, the committee has already developed a standard related to environmental issues, D6602, Practice for Sampling and Testing of Possible Carbon Black Fugitive Emissions or Other Environmental Particulate, or Both.

Magee says that D6602, which will be moved from its currently responsible subcommittee, D24.81 on Carbon Black Microscopy and Morphology, to D24.66, covers sampling and testing to distinguish carbon black from other environmental particulates.

“More than 90 percent of particulate matter results from natural sources such as volcanoes, pollen and molds,” says Magee. “The other particulates are man-made, most commonly from the burning of fossil fuels. Since many of these man-made particulates are carbon-based and black in color, distinguishing these other particulates from carbon black is important.” ASTM D6602 provides a standardized methodology of differentiating carbon black from other particulates, an important issue for carbon black plants located near urban or residential areas.

In addition to D6602, another current D24 standard, D1619, Test Methods for Carbon Black — Sulfur Content, developed by D24.31 on Non-carbon Black Components of Carbon Black, will become the responsibility of D24.66.

Two proposed standards currently on ballot will also be under the jurisdiction of D24.66: WK27192, Test Method for Carbon Black — Carbon Content, and WK27667, Test Method for Carbon Content in Carbon Black Feedstock Oils. Once these carbon standards are published and adopted by government environmental agencies, the carbon black industry will have relevant standardized test methods for their feedstocks and products.

D24.66 also will be working with the International Carbon Black Association to develop a proposed standard for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) content. According to Magee, there are currently no globally recognized standards for measuring PAH content in carbon black, but D24.66 is in the process of working on a draft method based on Soxhlet extraction and gas chromatography with mass spectrometry.


Technical Information: Ricky Magee, Columbian Chemicals Co., Marietta, Ga.

Phone: 770-792-9472

ASTM Staff: Joe Koury

Phone: 610-832-9804