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Alternative to titanium dioxide powder for manufacturers of colours and paints

  • New regulations for titanium dioxide powder as of autumn 2021
  • Highly concentrated, liquid products based on TiO2 as an alternative
  • Luconyl®, Luconyl® NG & Dispers® for various application areas

Titanium dioxide powder is frequently used as a pigment in the production of colours and paints. Last year, the EU Commission classified it as suspected to be carcinogenic when inhaled. Therefore, new regulations apply as of October 2021. Daniel Müller, Senior Business Development Manager at BASF Colors & Effects explains in the interview how the classification of TiO2 affects the manufacturers of colours and paints and which alternatives there are.

What do the new regulations for titanium dioxide entail for manufacturers of colours and paints?

The new regulations have completely changed our starting position. Products with certain amounts of titanium dioxide then need to have warning notices or be labelled as potentially carcinogenic. Of course, manufacturers would like to avoid this. But stricter rules will also apply in production starting in autumn. Therefore, suitable protective measures need to be taken to prevent the inhalation of the material.

Which alternatives to titanium dioxide powder are available?

Titanium dioxide is used as a white pigment in powder form in order to achieve a hiding power of colours and paints. There is no other equivalent pigment. However, manufacturers can compensate the hiding power with other titanium dioxide-based products, as we do with our liquid pigment preparations Luconyl®, Luconyl® NG and Dispers®. There are no labelling requirements for these alternative products and they are easier to handle in production.

Which benefits do the liquid products offer in production?

Firstly in regard to safety: customers who have been using titanium dioxide know very well that the dust formation leads to a contamination of surfaces and production systems time and again. With these liquid products, there is no danger of inhaling particles. Secondly, liquid products are generally easier to handle in production than those in powder form. The reason for this is simple: They do not cause dust, which in turn reduces the cleaning effort, and they are also easy to dose.

Which liquid pigment preparations are particularly well suited for white pigmentations?

Our products Luconyl®, Luconyl® NG and Dispers® White, which we developed at BASF Colors & Effects and now offer to our customers together with BTC. They are each suitable for different industries and application areas.

Can the titanium dioxide-based white pigments compete with titanium dioxide in terms of coverage?

Certainly. Manufacturers also benefit from a high reproducibility, as they receive a product that is ready for use and optimally adjusted with the liquid white pigments. After all, titanium dioxide can have different properties depending on the supplier or even have an inherent colouration which can negatively affect the reproducibility. With our liquid pigment preparation, we offer highly specified products which ensure the consistent quality of the end product.

How can manufacturers integrate the liquid alternatives into their products?

There is no general answer to this question as the manufacturers use different formulations and powders cannot be replaced 1:1 with liquid products. Our Color Competence Center will gladly assist with calculations if necessary. You also have the option of registering via the BASF Colors & Effects «Pigment Finder (https://www.colors-effects.com)» and downloading additional product data.


Are there alternatives to titanium dioxide powder for applications in which no liquid components are possible?

Finding alternatives to titanium dioxide powder is more difficult here, but we are currently developing new solutions which remain under the limit values and are therefore not subject to labelling. These products could be used in dry colours for example. They are also an alternative for manufacturers who wish to maintain their usual production process without switching from dry to liquid components.

Our Expert

Daniel Müller has worked in chemical product sales for 26 years. After positions at Ecolab, Merck and BTC Europe, the graduated Sales Consultant has worked in the Pigment Preparation department at BASF Colors & Effects since 2011. As Senior Business Development Manager, he is responsible for the sale of advanced pigment preparations in compliance with the recognized eco labels, Directives and biocide regulations. “My goal is to create long-term and sustainable relations with our customers. Safe, easy and honest.”