3M Provides Effective Alternative to C8 Fluorosurfactants Facing EPA Restriction

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps that will lead to the restriction and possible phase-out of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate (LCPFAC) substances by Dec. 31, 2015.

However, manufacturers won’t be left without an effective industrial surfactant for wetting and leveling because 3M anticipated the EPA action years ago. “We voluntarily phased out C8 fluorosurfactants in May 2000,” says Judith Dow-Grant, Marketing Operations Manager for 3M Advanced Materials Division. “We developed a family of C4 products with a better environmental profile.”


Actions to come

At the very least, the EPA-proposed action will make it very difficult to continue to use C8 fluorosurfactants in the manufacturing process. Users would have to notify the EPA at least 90 days prior to manufacturing, processing or importing the chemical to give the agency time to determine whether the new use presents unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.

Most industry observers feel that the EPA will ultimately go steps farther and fully restrict all use of LCPFACs as of the end of 2015. But because of the foresight of 3M, affected manufacturers won’t have to scramble to find replacement products.

A seamless transition

The 3M C4-based fluorosurfactants aren’t affected by the proposed changes.

The changeover must be initiated as soon as possible, and 3M will make the process as easy and convenient as possible, says Dow-Grant. “With the changes that are coming by the end of the year, the timing is critical to request samples and begin to test and qualify customer products without supply interruption,” she says. “We can lead you through the process and make the transition smooth and easy.”

In addition to providing an effective alternative to C8 long-chain technology, the 3M product family stands up against not-in-kind surfactants. “Although the not-in-kind products sometimes cost less, the cost-in-use of the 3M surfactants is often lower because so much less of the product is required to deliver desired performance,” says Dow-Grant.

The 3M Fluorosurfactant product line is designed for use in solvent-borne and waterborne industrial paints and coatings, including low-VOC formulations. Other 3M advantages are the company’s 15 years’ experience with making C4 replacement products, its fluorosurfactant industry leadership, its global reach, its technical service and the product support it offers.

Palmer Holland represents the 3M line of fluorosurfactants, available in the Northeast, Central, Midwest and Southeast regions of the country. For samples or to find out more about the 3M fluorosurfactants and how to make your changeover seamless without interrupting your supply, contact John Outcalt, Business Manager for Palmer Holland, at joutcalt@PalmerHolland.com. 3M is a trademark of 3M Company.

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