European Composites Industry Association GPRMC

03 October 2002

In order to help them to prepare for EU membership GPRMC has invited the composite manufacturers of all candidate EU member states to create national composite industry associations in their own country and to participate via this association as ""associated member"" in the work of GPRMC. The primary goal of GPRMC, and its national member associations, is indeed to unite the whole European composites industry into one single European association. It has also been active in each of the following areas:

From 29 May 2002 onwards all composite products made for use under pressure (> 0.5 bar) have according to the European ""Pressure Equipment Directive"" 97/23/EC to be CE marked. Without this mandatory CE marking and the accompanying ""Declaration of conformity"" these products may no longer be sold or put into service on the European Market and in the EFTA countries.

The final report of the Styrene Risk Assessment (SRA) study conducted by the UK HSE on behalf of the European Commission is almost finished. One of the main conclusions of the Styrene Risk Assessment study is that the fibre reinforced plastics & polymer concrete industry have to take measures to reduce styrene emissions in order to protect workers against contact of resin with the skin and to prevent inhalation of styrene. This means one may reasonably expect changing attitudes of some authorities towards the GRP industry. Composite manufacturers should therefore seriously consider switching to closed mould techniques whenever possible or take other appropriate measures in order to be ready because experience in some EU countries with low limits show that it takes time to switch. Companies can still obtain copies of the UP Resin Handling Guide from their national association. GPRMC and the CEFIC UP resin manufacturers intend to start working on an update of this document.

As far as products for food and drinking water contact are concerned GPRMC advises the concerned composite manufacturers to always apply the best available curing techniques, i.e. curing at an adequate temperature during the right amount of time. For advice please contact your resin manufacturer. As far as drinking water contact (CPDW) is concerned the European Commission explicitly considers composites as being materials different from other materials (glass, plastics, metal, concrete). Companies making FRP products for drinking water contact (pipes, tanks, vessels, desalination pipes, pumps, valves, etc) should therefore closely co-operate with GPRMC to follow op draft legislation: via their national associations they should provide GPRMC with their remarks on draft legislation and give specific technical input.

Because companies sell their products European wide and we have more and more European-wide waste legislation (e.g. Directives on landfill, incineration, ELV, WEEE, etc.) introducing ""producer responsibility"" and other obligations, GPRMC and its national member associations urgently need the full support of all composite manufacturers to set up a European wide composite waste management system. Companies are invited to sponsor and otherwise support the efforts of GPRMC to find new applications and economically viable markets for FRP recyclate. In order to avoid double work all companies, universities and research institutes working on composite waste management projects are invited to briefly inform GPRMC about their projects. Concerning the Green-Amber-Red list GPRMC also continues its efforts to get FRP waste on the Green list in order to facilitate transport of waste to existing FRP recycling plants.

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