The jewellery company “Varva” participated in the “LIFE Fit for REACH” project. In addition to classic jewellery, the jeweller of this company also produces jewellery from epoxy resin. The chemical experts of the project helped to find several alternatives to hazardous substances used in their work.
Jeweller Roberta, with whom the project's chemical team collaborated, testified that she was unaware that jewellery professionals might be exposed to extremely hazardous materials, but had a hunch as she pointed out that some of the materials (e.g. solvents) might cause headaches. Although efforts were made to avoid toxic effects, while joining the project it became clear that there was a lack of knowledge about hazardous chemicals and their long-term adverse effects, as well as possible alternatives.
The first category reprotoxic substance, which is included in the candidate list, was the soldering flux. It has been replaced by a safer phosphate-based alternative. A silver oxidisers containing a Category 2 toxic compound (sodium selenite) has also been replaced. An alternative of lower toxicity has been found.
A total of three alternative epoxy resins were tested. Epoxy resin was changed to safer. Jeweller Roberta was pleased with reduced toxicity to aquatic life, reduced human toxicity and reduced exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC).
A total of three safer alternative epoxy resins were tested. Taking into account the technical requirements, the resin with the best technical properties was selected and used in the company's activities. Jeweller Roberta was pleased with the reduced risks in the workplace, the potential impact on the aquatic environment and the reduced exposure to volatile organic compounds.
All alternatives after being successfully tested were adapted and perfectly met the production requirements.