On 4 October, the European Commission decided to classify titanium dioxide in powder form as a substance "suspected of causing cancer in humans".
This follows an expert hearing (CARACAL) in September in which several EU Member States rejected the classification of titanium dioxide as a carcinogenic.
In addition to being classified in category 2 as substance "suspected of causing cancer in humans", the pigment is added to the list of substances under the Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP).
Thus, titanium dioxide placed on the market in powder form would have to be labelled as carcinogenic.
The classification would also apply to powdered mixtures containing titanium dioxide particles.
Liquid mixtures, including coatings, paints and printing inks, should include a warning on their packaging regarding spray applications.
If no objection is lodged by the Council or the European Parliament within the next two months, the classification will become valid after a transitional period of 18 months, ie probably from summer 2021 onwards.
The classification meets with strong criticism from the coatings and printing ink industry.
Martin Engelmann of the German Paints and Printing Inks Industry Association (VdL) said there were "serious doubts" about the legality of the Commission proposal.
The current status of titanium dioxide will also be discussed at the European Coatings Regulatory Forum on 27 and 28 November in Brussels.
David Lockley of Venator/Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association will give updates and talks about the consequences for the coatings industry.
The conference will also address other regulatory challenges, such as poison information centres, Brexit and much more.
Titanium dioxide will also be the focus of the EC TiO2 Forum on 28 and 29 January in Berlin.
The conference will look at the pigment from a technical point of view, but will deal with alternatives and innovations in the field of TiO2.