Tenachem is one of the leading producers of professional construction chemicals in Latvia. One of its products is Oksiplasts - two component, polyurethane based construction sealant for joints and cracks in vertical and sloped structures. This product is mainly targeted for the professional users and its annual production volume is over 1000 tons.
Until recently Oksiplasts contained a substance which is toxic for reproduction - dibutyltin dilaurate - that also is a strong skin sensitizer.
During the project, Tenachem has implemented substitution of this hazardous substance. The search for the alternative was rather simple – the company investigated if there was a similar substance - with comparable properties but less hazardous, also to be found in the same class of substances – tin compounds. The substitute – dioctyltin dilaurate – was found and although it is potentially hazardous if swallowed, it is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) and poses significantly lower hazard.
The chosen alternative is with the same product properties, performance and production costs, so the clients do not feel any major changes after the substitution.
At the same time, the substitution reduced turnover of hazardous substances in the company and their occurrence in products, minimizing work place health hazards, making simpler chemicals management internally and making it easier for preparation of documentation, e.g. for export purposes.
Phasing out phthalates
Sealants for insulating glass units are one of main product groups produced in Tenachem. The most common plasticizer used in polyurethane-based sealants is diisononylphthalate (DINP). Although the use of this substance is not prohibited in most applications, more and more producers are trying to find alternatives to phthalates as evidence basis regarding their potential long-term effects grows. Tenachem has successfully tested an alternative, non-phthalate plasticizer in one of the products, which proved to be an effective substitute – the product has passed the certification. With this Tenachem has opened up possibilities for moving into safer and more sustainable products market.