Dow Chemical has declared that it will phase out methyl ethyl ketoxime (MEKO) from its consumer and professional goods by 2028, and from its industrial products by 2030.The Michigan-based company said in its latest sustainability report, released last month, that it will “proactively retire” items containing the drug because the EU’s ECHA has recognized it as a probable carcinogen by inhalation.

MEKO, also known as 2-butanone oxime and commonly used in paints, coatings, and sealants, was reclassified as a CLP category 1B carcinogen in 2020. According to a Dow spokesman, while there are no imminent legislative requirements to restrict the chemical in the United States or elsewhere, the business is doing so ” to develop safer and more sustainable products for use in consumer, professional, and industrial applications.”

EU pays attention to MEKO

MEKO is a carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic (CMR) material in the EU, which means it is banned under REACH Annex XVII and cannot be used in consumer-sold products and mixes. Any future restrictions recommended would target industrial sector users.

Recently, EU authorities have been paying attention to material that has been reviewed in Germany in 2019. The material, called MEKO, is found in paints, coatings, and sealants. The German authorities have classified it as potentially risky and recommend that further measures be taken at the EU level, such as harmonized classification under the CLP regulation and identification and restriction under REACH.

Canada suggested restricting the quantity of MEKO in paints, varnishes, stains, finishes, adhesives, and sealants last year. The Canadian authorities discovered that a voluntary “code of practice” aimed at reducing inhalation exposure to the drug had not made sufficient headway in reducing exposure.


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