Exclusive Interview with David Lockley, Chair of TDMA Scientific Committee

Ahead of the highly-anticipated co-located Pigment & Colour Science Forum and TiO2 World Summit, we spoke to confirmed speaker, David Lockley, Chair of the TDMA Scientific Committee and Product Defence and Toxicology Manager of Venator Materials Plc.

You are going to be talking about what the classification of TiO2 could mean for businesses –why is this an important topic for the audience?

It is an important topic for the audience because the EU proposal to classify TiO2 as a suspected carcinogen by inhalation could have significant impacts on the TiO2 value-chain in the EU and beyond. It could potentially trigger unwarranted regulatory consequences in the EU even when there is no risk as inhalation of TiO2 is not possible. For instance, the classification could create trade barriers by triggering EU restrictions on the use of TiO2 in some applications and raise barriers to recycling of TiO2 bearing waste.

The classification of TiO2 could set a precedent for more than 300+ other poorly soluble low toxicity dust substances which would then logically follow the same regulatory path. The impacts of the decision made by the EU would therefore extend far beyond TiO2 and may spill-over to other jurisdictions globally in the future.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now and how to do you think this conference can address them?

The EU proposal to classify TiO2 is one of the major challenges but not the only one. Trade tensions, dynamics in the feedstock industry and sustainability are other topics that will impact pigments.  The TiO2 world summit is a welcome opportunity that allows experts to raise and discuss these issues

What do you see as the most significant changes coming up in the TiO2 sector in the next 12-24 months?

The proposal to classify TiO2 could be adopted and enter into force within the next 24 months, resulting in significant changes for the TiO2 sector. The Titanium Dioxide Manufacturers Association (TDMA) is still engaging with the EU Authorities to find an alternative regulatory solution that would be more proportionate and effective. For instance, we are asking to establish a harmonised occupational exposure limit in the EU which would directly address the theoretical workplace dust concerns described for TiO2. 

What are you most looking forward to about attending the co-located Pigment and Colour Science Forum and TiO2 World Summit?

I am looking forward to meeting stakeholders from across the TiO2 and pigments value-chain to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the coming years. These are not limited to the regulatory and political issues but also relate to important ongoing scientific discussions about TiO2 and other pigments as well as innovations in the uses of pigments.

Thinking of joining us this year?

View the full TiO2 World Summit programme here.

View the full Pigment & Colour Science Forum programme here.