Research project on critical constituents in intermediates

Oil refineryClick to enlarge
Oil refinery
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A large amount of petroleum- and coal-based chemicals is used as intermediates. A research project recently launched by UBA is intended to clarify, whether intermediate product applications result in the transfer of constituents of concern in the value chain or their release into the environment.

Chemicals originating from petroleum or coal contain a number of constituents. Some constituents, like several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are known to have properties that make them of very high concern for the environment. They are persistent in the environment, they accumulate in organisms and they are toxic for environmental organisms. Other constituents are suspected to have such properties as well.

In intermediate uses the substance is transformed to another substance. As the parent substance is not present any more after this reaction, an assessment and regulation of such uses is not foreseen in the ⁠REACH⁠ regulation. What happens to individual constituents of such complex substances in the process is nevertheless unclear. A transfer of critical constituents in the value chain cannot be ruled out according to current knowledge. Emissions to the environment can also occur. These issues shall be addressed in the recently launched research project “Intermediates from petroleum and coal fractions – a regulatory problem?” (FKZ 3718644160) until November 2021.