GFL has developed alternative technologies to produce a range of REACH compliant PTFE micropowder grades marketed under the brand name INOLUBTM for various applications like polymer & rubber compounding, lubricants & grease, coatings and inks & paints.
Products produced using above two sustainable technologies are compliant to REACH regulations.
PTFE micropowders are low molecular weight (LMW) PTFE, typically produced by degrading high molecular weight (HMW) PTFE. Most commonly, the method used for degradation is exposure of HMW PTFE to e-beams or γ-rays. The primary products produced by radiation exposure of PTFE are terminal (-CF2–ĊF2) and middle (-CF2-ĊF-CF2-) fluoroalkyl radicals resulting from the detachment of fluorine atoms and polymer main chain scission. The free radicals lead to the generation of end groups like COF, COOH & CF3. The (Carbonyl Fluoride) COF end groups hydrolyse to carboxylic end groups (-COOH) in the presence of atmospheric humidity/moisture resulting in formation of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). PFOA are resistant to biological degradation, breaking down very slowly in the environment, because of this they are classified under persistent organic pollutants (POPs) by Stockholm Convention in annex A and are considered to have an adverse effect on human health.
Hence, the process of irradiation to degrade the polymer chain contaminates PTFE with harmful (toxic and bio accumulative) PFOA. It also pollutes the working area, thereby, endangering the lives of people involved in the manufacturing process.
Considering the above facts, ECHA has adopted a law, amending to EU's persistent organic pollutants regulation Annex I (EU) 2019/1021 & EU 2020/784 to ban perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds. The UN's Stockholm Convention, to which the EU is a party, agreed upon a global ban on the substance with some exemptions.
GFL's polymer characterization & analytical lab in India is equipped with state of the art UPLC-MS/MS equipment to quantify PFOA in its products. Gujarat Fluoro Research Centre (GFRC) has developed & adopted test methods to detect PFAS/PFOA (in ppb level). Test methods have been validated by a reputed German Institute specialized in chromatographic method development and analysis.