Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Proactive Stance on Nonylphenol and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates

 As we monitor the constantly changing regulations that confront our industry, increasingly anodizers are being asked to certify their products meet new environmental requirements. More intermediates are coming under scrutiny and several states are enacting strict regulations and reporting requirements. Many intermediates are simply no longer available.

California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) lists more than 800 substances that could pose a danger to humans and aquatic life. Under Proposition 65, Nonylphenol (NP) and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) are on the list of unfavorable chemicals.

NP and NPEs are highly toxic to aquatic organisms and moderately bioaccumulative in mollusks. They are persistent in the aquatic environment and can accumulate in soils and sediments. Nonylphenol Ethoxylates can degrade into more toxic chemicals, including NP.

In August 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency released its NP/NPE Action Plan to address concerns over potential ecological and health effects. Through its Design for the Environment (DfE) program, the EPA released an assessment in May 2012 identifying many safer alternatives. Many of these alternatives are less persistent and break down to chemicals which are less toxic than NP and considered safer substitutes by the EPA.

Fortunately for anodizers, new cleaners and safer surfactants are readily available and provide an excellent opportunity to proactively address the mounting concerns over NP and NPEs. These new products are an excellent alternative for anodizers concerned about compliance with environmental regulations.

This post was submitted by Mark Jozefowicz, VP – Technical Services for Reliant Aluminum Products.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meeting the Challenge of Anodized Medical Devices

Color anodized aluminum is widely used in the medical device industry. Whether it is used for a tool handle or a tray, repeat-use devices must undergo regular cleaning and sterilization treatments and it’s important that the original finish be preserved.

Several types of sterilization methods are in use today, but those which incorporate hydrogen peroxide injection are particularly challenging for a color anodized finish to endure. Fading or significant discoloration typically occurs after only a few sterilization cycles. STERRAD systems use low-temperature, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma technology to sterilize instruments and medical devices safely and effectively.

However recent studies have demonstrated that, using the correct sealing technology, inorganic dyed coatings can be produced to withstand 100 such cycles with no noticeable effect.

With the proper selection of dyes and sealants, anodizers now have the capability to meet the demands of the expanding medical device industry.

This post was submitted by Mark Jozefowicz, VP – Technical Services for Reliant Aluminum Products.