Unlike conventional PTFE manufacturing, the new E-SERIES process will not use ammonium salts of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). AGC plans to commercialize Fluon® PTFE ESERIES beginning in early 2009 and targets for complete conversion of its current PTFE products to Fluon® PTFE E-SERIES by the end of 2010.
Traditionally, PFOA has been widely used as a polymerization surfactant for fluoropolymer products, including PTFE. Concerns, however, have been expressed about its persistence and widespread presence in the environment.
In January 2006, the USEPA asked companies manufacturing fluoropolymers and fluorotelomers to participate in a global stewardship program. In this program, participating companies voluntarily committed to reduce and work toward ultimately eliminating facility emissions and product content of PFOA, PFOA precursors and related higher homolog chemicals. AGC is participating in this program along with 7 other companies. Recently, these chemicals are drawing increasing attention globally. For example, the legislature of the state of California has passed legislation, which will become law if signed by the governor, that is aimed at regulating PFOA and other chemicals.
Ever since the concern about PFOA was raised, AGC has been conducting measures to reduce emissions of PFOA in the environment. At the same time, AGC has been devoting its resources to the development of alternatives to PFOA. As a result of such efforts, AGC has successfully developed a new high-performance surfactant as an alternative to PFOA. By using this new surfactant, AGC is able to manufacture the Fluon® PTFE E-SERIES products. The new surfactant has already been certified in Japan under its Chemical Substances Control Law, and has been approved for use in the U.S. under the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). AGC is also in the process of registering the new surfactant in the EU under the REACH program.
AGC is planning to completely convert not only Fluon® PTFE but also all other fluorinated products, such as fluorinated water and oil repellent Asahi Guard, into PFOA free products (i.e., free of PFOA at or above detection limits) by 2012.
The Chemicals Company of AGC has defined its mission as “Chemistry for a Blue Planet”, and the Fluon® PTFE E-SERIES products are in furtherance of this mission. *”Free of PFOA” as Free of PFOA (at or above detection limits)
◎For further information regarding these issues, please contact Toshihiro Ueda, General Manager, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. (Direct inquiries to: Hiroyuki Wakasugi, Telephone: +81-3-3218-5259, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
◎Fluon® website: http://www.fluon.jp/
Glossary of Terms:
Note 1: PFOA PFOA is used as a polymerization aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers and is present in trace quantities as impurities in fluorinated water and oil repellents.
Note 2: Precursors Substances that change into other substances via decomposition. In this case, those chemicals that decompose to generate PFOA and/or related higher homolog chemicals.
Note 3: Related higher homolog chemicals Substances with a structure similar to PFOA (8-carbon) and larger carbon numbers. Examples include perfluorooctanoic acid (9-carbon) and perfluorodecanoic acid (10- carbon).
Note 4: Chemical Substances Control Law in Japan Law concerning the examination and regulation of manufacture, etc. of chemical substances.
Note 5: Surfactants Surfactants are wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid. They can reduce the interfacial tension between oil and water, by absorbing at the liquid-liquid interface