The Emulsion Polymers Council (EPC)
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    Are EH&S Issues Favorable for EPs?

    The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) aspects of emulsion polymers (EPs) are definitely favorable. Not only are EPs manufactured and often sold in water, but the residual levels of monomer, initiator and surfactant in the final product are in the very low ppm range. Many different relatively small molecular weight (MW) compounds are used to produce the high MW emulsion polymers. Generally, there are non-detectable or trace quantities of these residual monomers in the final EP product. These low level residuals lead to trace levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the final product. Also, because they have a high MW, with no biological activity, specific toxicity related issues do not exist for EPs as a class. Finally, since they are supplied in water or solid form, safety concerns are minimized.

    The use of EP products supports efforts for sustainable development. The use of latex, and high-solids paint and coatings provides benefits such as reducing VOC emissions, avoiding concerns of flammability, and presenting opportunities for recycling. Recycled paper can be upgraded with the addition of an EP coating to meet the same standard as paper from virgin pulp.

    The EPC has an active program to monitor environmental, health, safety and regulatory issues affecting the monomers and other compounds used to produce EPs. Occasionally, the EPC will issue specific information or guidance on the relevance to the EP industry of new information on these monomers: