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Tag Archives: ECFIA


2016 , a retrospective

With Christmas and the end of 2016 approaching we are taking the opportunity to look back on a very busy year. We will report on some of the most important and interesting things that have happened in 2016:


2016 has been a year of refocusing for ECFIA. We have come a long way since our founding in 1979, and even though there have been a lot of changes with regard to the regulatory situation and associated requirements, our main focus is still the same: to develop safe working practices and good occupational health and safety standards in the production and use of HITWs. We took the time to summarise some basic information on ECFIA and our Product Stewardship Programme in two brochures that can be downloaded here:

[Link to ECFIA image brochure]

[Link to Product Stewardship Programme brochure]

Practical guidance document series

Now containing 21 documents, the ‘CARE Guidance’ series has reached a status where there is a document on every relevant exposure control element or exposure scenario. They are written by occupational hygienists for users and give helpful information on how to put in place effective controls to minimise exposure to airborne fibres. If you need advice on, for example, local exhaust ventilation systems or maintenance and repair operations, you will find a specific document in the CARE Guidance library.

[Link to CARE Guidance library]

Candidate Listing of ASW/RCF

The European Commission has proposed an amendment of REACH Annex XIV (authorisation). The latter does not include ASW/RCF any longer and suggests postponing the decision on ASW/RCF till the most relevant regulatory approach has been found. MS representatives forming the “Art. 133 Committee” will decide on the proposal. A decision is likely to come out in the first quarter of 2017”.

[Link to the complete proposal]

Revision of the Carcinogens Directive

On 13 October 2016 the European Council reached agreement on its position on a revision of the Carcinogens Directive. In addition to the substances covered by the existing 2004 directive, it proposes to set exposure limits for a further 11 carcinogens, including a BOELV for ASW of 0,3 f/ml. This now opens the way for discussions on the directive between the Council and the European Parliament.

[Link to EC press release]

Scientific paper comparing intrapleural, intraperitoneal and inhalation test results

The paper published by Drummond G, Bevan B & Harrison P in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology compares results from inhalation studies with those from intraperitoneal/intrapleural (IP) tests for a number of fibrous and particulate test materials, including ASW/RCF, with the objective of establishing how well IP studies predict the pathological responses observed in standard inhalation studies. For many materials, positive results in the intraperitoneal test were not reflected by positive inhalation results. In addition, it was found that if a material tested negative in the intraperitoneal test it was never positive in inhalation tests. These findings led to the conclusion that the IP test can be used to exonerate a dust or fibre but should not be used to positively determine that a dust or fibre is carcinogenic by inhalation.

Scientific paper on threshold vs. non-threshold carcinogens

Recently, a paper on threshold vs. non-threshold carcinogens (co-authored by our consultant toxicologist, Professor Paul Harrison) was submitted for publication in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (expected to be published in early 2017). This paper explains the importance of determining the threshold or non-threshold nature of a carcinogen. At present, some regulatory bodies – including those that set occupational exposure limit values – do not make this distinction, resulting in inappropriate regulation of carcinogens that have a safe level of exposure. ASW/RCF is a prime example of such a substance.


Position paper “Regulatory Risk Management of ASW/RCF”

This document and the associated references are intended to inform regulatory decision makers about ECFIA´s approach to workplace risk management for ASW/RCF products.

It concludes that the application of OSH regulation based on the STOP principle (Substitution where feasible, otherwise Technical, Organizational and Personal exposure protection as needed), including compliance with a scientifically justified exposure limit, adequately manages the potential risk associated with the handling and use of ASW/RCF products.

[Link to document]


ECFIA brochure

To inform interested stakeholders about ECFIA, a new brochure has been produced which includes information on the types of HTIW and where they are used, the CARE and PSP programmes, as well as on toxicological and scientific studies related to HTIW.

The brochure is electronically available as a pdf-file and also in printed format which can be ordered by contacting us at:


New associate member

IBIDEN Hungary Kft. has joined ECFIA to become its 7th associate member. Located in the industrial park of Dunavarsány, 25 kilometers south of Budapest, the company was established in 2004 as the second European DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) producing centre of the Japanese IBIDEN Group.

After completion of registration of PCW under REACH, IBIDEN Hungary Kft. began production of fibres in 2016 and is interested in getting more involved in ECFIA’s projects in the long term.


ECFIA annual meeting

On 3rd May 2016, ECFIA´s annual meeting took place in Liverpool, UK where members, associate members and advisors to ECFIA gathered to share their knowledge and experiences. Read more »


Cross-Industry Initiative launches website

The Cross-Industry Initiative (CII), an ad-hoc coalition of more than 50 EU-wide organisations and companies, of which ECFIA is a founding member, has launched a new website supporting its drive to achieve the most appropriate and effective regulation for the management of chemicals in the workplace.
Read more »


New brochure on Product Stewardship Programme available

One of ECFIA´s main objectives is to provide sound factual information on HTIWs and to develop safe working practices and good occupational health and safety standards in the production and use of HTIWs. These objectives are reflected in ECFIA´s comprehensive Product Stewardship Programme. Read more »


Annual Meeting

This year ECFIA´s annual meeting will take place in Vienna. On 13 and 14 April the chairman Klaus Kamps will welcome representatives of all ECFIA member companies from all over Europe as well as associates and interested parties from North America and Asia. Read more »


Inclusion of ASW/RCF on REACH Annex XIV – Socio-Economic Implications

ASW products are indispensable in modern industrial high temperature processes due to their unique combination of thermal and physical characteristics.

The position paper, signed by 16 European industry associations, discusses the potential impact of the inclusion of ASW/RCF on Annex XIV, with a focus on potential socio-economic implications.

[Link to position paper]


2014, a retrospective

With Christmas and the end of 2014 approaching we are taking the opportunity to look back on a very busy year:

CARE programme

With the CARE programme running in its 18th year, ECFIA´s occupational hygienists have taken more than 6000 exposure measurements in production sites or HTIW user facilities throughout Europe. These add up to the total number of more than 22000 measurements that are now in ECFIA´s CARE programme data base. Along with these monitoring activities, ECFIA´s occupational hygienists advised the companies visited on good working practices to minimise fibrous dust whenever this was necessary.

Also ECFIA´s experts have taken the time to write down their knowledge resulting in 5 new CARE Guidance documents. These expand the CARE Guidance library to a total of 14 documents.

As it is one of ECFIA´s main objectives to develop safe working practices and good occupational health and safety standards in the production and use of HTIW, the CARE programme will remain one of our main activities in the upcoming years.


June 2014 marked Cranfield University’s much anticipated conference on ‘Advances and Controversies in Fibre Toxicology’. This was supported by ECFIA and headed up by our toxicology adviser, Paul Harrison, who is a Visiting Professor at Cranfield. A range of expert speakers, including ECFIA Board member Ron Wainwright, spoke on a range of topics that inspired healthy and sometimes heated debate. Cranfield University will be publishing an output from the conference on their website in the new year.

Also in 2014 a number of important scientific papers were published, including a study by Christina Ziemann and colleagues at Fraunhofer ITEM that demonstrated the lack of toxicity/genotoxicity of devitrified (heated) AES fibres (Ziemann et al., 2014, Inhalation Toxicology, 26, 113-27). This was followed by the publication of a more general review of the literature on the formation and toxic consequences of crystalline silica in devitrified synthetic vitreous fibres such as AES and ASW/RCF (Brown & Harrison, 2014, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 68, 152-159). Both these papers were co-authored by our toxicology advisor. Results from these studies were used to update the ECFIA ‘ACTION’ note on crystalline silica in after-service HTIW products.


REACH has been a major topic for ECFIA in 2014. Our main initiatives focused on raising awareness of the possible impact of a decision on subjecting (Zirconia) Alumino Silicate RCF to authorization for use in Europe.

The results of the three-month public consultation conducted in 2013 were evaluated by the Member State Committee (MSC), in co-operation with ECHA. This evaluation took longer than expected as a number of arguments were raised in the public consultation questioning whether the quality of information to support (Zirconia) Alumino Silicate RCF authorisation was adequate. On Feb 10th 2014, ECHA published the decision to refer the 5th recommendation to the European Commission for final review and decision. There it has been challenged by several Member States and the 5th recommendation is actually now on hold. The latest information from the European Commission indicates that they will pick up the discussion in the second half of 2015.

Position paper on Risk Management Option Assessment

While working with and supporting ECHA in the REACH process, ECFIA and several other user industry associations deliberated on other feasible ways to implement efficient and effective workplace controls.

The resulting position paper signed by ECFIA and 13 major industry associations shows the advantages of the introduction of a Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Value (BOELV) under the existing framework of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD). It states that the BOELV is a way to achieve the overall objective of improved risk management via harmonized workplace controls and is therefore preferable to the authorisation process under REACH.

Position paper on Socio-Economic Implications

In September 2014 ECHA published its 6th recommendation of substances for inclusion in the Authorisation List. As a lesson learned from earlier public consultations, the European Commission launched a request to provide comments on socio-economic implications.

Inspired by the Commission´s initiative, ECFIA along with the other associations looked into the potential implications of a non-use scenario for (Zirconia) Alumino Silicate Wool, including substitution, impacts on the environment, global competitiveness, innovation, safety and legal compliance. The paper concludes that (Alumino) Silicate RCF has been successfully substituted where technically and economically feasible and that “non-use” of this material could lead to a wide range of undesired socio-economic consequences.



We would like to thank you for your interest in ECFIA and our activities and wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.