Prior to new products entering the marketplace, we carefully consider their effect on the health and safety of our customers, employees, the communities where we operate, as well as their impact on the environment.
Our stage gate process for new product development includes a comprehensive evaluation of health, safety and regulatory compliance and environmental impacts. These factors play critical roles in our decisions to continue with the development or manufacture of materials on a commercial scale. Our commitment to safety and compliance continues even after the commercial launch of a new product. Safety is evaluated as products are used in new applications, and compliance obligations are addressed as new regulatory requirements are introduced.
Our products are used in a wide variety of applications globally and are subject to international chemical control and use-specific requirements. As members of the American Chemical Council's Responsible Care® program, we have published global product stewardship summaries for our key products. Through our leadership in the International Carbon Black Association (ICBA), we've published a comprehensive carbon black user guide. Additionally, we compiled a European Union Regulation Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (EU REACH) Only Representative communication package.
Working Safely With Graphenes
We are committed to ensuring the safety of our employees, and end users of our products. This includes graphene-based materials that we have been developing over the last five years.
This multifunctional class of carbons has the potential to deliver breakthrough performance in many valuable applications and essentially “do more with less.” When we first started working with graphenes, there was very little toxicology and safety data available. Through contacts at the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) we understood that academic and government researchers were also interested in studying the health effects of these new materials with great commercial potential. This eventually led to collaborations between Cabot and NIOSH and with leading Korean researchers to conduct toxicology studies. The results of this research have since been used to update our Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and have been communicated to our workers and downstream users.
Reducing Air Pollution
Mercury emissions from coal-fired utilities are a serious environmental concern due to the toxicity and persistence of mercury that creates air pollution and accumulates in our waterways.
In response to this concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enacted the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) regulation with an aim to reduce power-plant pollution by requiring utilities to install and operate equipment that removes mercury and fine particulate matter. As the world leader in mercury emission control, our DARCO® Hg family of activated carbon products for mercury control has been selected for use in over 115 coal-fired units throughout the United States and Canada. We continue to see our volumes increase in this area and are prepared to continue to supply our customers with Cabot Norit activated carbon for mercury controls.
We recently completed a major rewriting of our product Safety Data Sheets (SDS). With nearly 800 products worldwide, a significant authoring system was required to efficiently manage the updating process.
This system will allow us to maintain excellence in hazard communication now and into the future. Our SDSs are available in over 30 languages in nearly a dozen country and regional formats. This level of complexity resulted in the management of over 22,000 documents as part of the rewriting effort. The information required for SDSs can now be prepared and distributed efficiently and quickly in response to customer demands and changing regulations. Due to this effort, our employees and customers have the critical safety, handling and disposal information they need in a clear and compliant format.
Responding to Dynamic Markets
We are able to meet our customers’ changing needs in response to regulations that limit the content of eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in certain plastic and rubber products.
We instituted a rigorous testing and certification program to measure the PAH concentrations on certain carbon black products and we innovated to develop a series of low content PAH products. As a result, we introduced the Cabot LP carbon black series, which are low PAH carbon blacks for rubber product applications. The new series is designed to provide customers with alternative reinforcing and semi-reinforcing carbon blacks for use in applications that require lower PAH content. In addition to our LP carbon black series, we currently offer over 15 specialty carbon black products that allow our customers to comply with the new stringent PAH regulations in Europe for a variety of other applications.
Advancing Our Customers
We are constantly working with our customers to find innovative solutions that will help them advance their own products. In many cases, this allows us to work with customers who have their own ambitions for sustainability by developing products with superior efficiency, durability, or cutting edge applications like those for renewable energy.