The reason for this is the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), which comes into force on December 1st this year and states, among other things, that an active ingredient called MBO is no longer available for sale from this date intended for the general public. MBO (a formaldehyde releaser) is the main active ingredient in diesel additives that help prevent the dreaded diesel oil pest by killing bacteria.
However, the sense of this regulation can certainly be argued: according to EU regulations diesel fuel must be added with an average of up to 4.4% biodiesel (rapeseed oil methyl ester). This impairs its storage stability since it is able to store more water than fossil diesel and at the same time serves as a preferred food source for bacteria. Boat owners who store diesel fuel in tanks for a longer timr than “normal” users, at least partially offset this deficiency in the past by adding a biocidal additive. The strange thing about it: Diesel itself is suspected of being carcinogenic and must be labeled with the H 351 mark. The MBO is suspected of being carcinogenic only in combination with water. As a leading employee of a well-known additive manufacturer aptly worded: “I do not understand this: You pour a resource that is suspected of causing cancer into a fuel that is also classified as a carcinogen – and suddenly this should be forbidden. What’s the point? “
Whether it makes sense or not, it will be difficult for consumers to get their biocidal additive in the future. The mail order business with the allegedly so dangerous substance (if it is mixed with water) is prohibited from December 1, 2018 by the authorities within the EU. The retail sector is subject to the self-service prohibition. It will probably result that only Yachtservice employees or gas station attendants may fill the additives in the tank. It is also already being considered to completely additivize the diesel fuel at the water stations in order to exclude legal restrictions. Alternatively, it would of course also be possible to use so-called paraffinic diesel (DIN EN 15940), but there is still no nationwide coverage.
However, it is clear that this EU regulation also applies in Austria, Croatia, Italy and Spain, and the countries concerned are required to guarantee timely implementation.
On request, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced: The products Grotamar 71 and 82 (as well as many products from other manufacturers, editor’s note) contain as active ingredient MBO. The formaldehyde releaser MBO is currently being evaluated as a biocidal active substance, a decision on the approval or non-approval of the substance as preservative (product type 6 according to the Biocide Regulation (EU) No 528/2012) is still pending.
The CLP Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 on Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures) examines chemical substances for their hazard potential. In the context of the 10.ATP (“
amending, for the purposes of its adaptation to technical and scientific progress“) MBO was found to be classified as carcinogenic (category 1B) among other things. The obligation to this classification will apply from December 1, 2018.
The REACH Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) in Annex XVII point 28 states that substances classified as carcinogens of category 1A or 1B are not intended for sale in Mixtures to the general public. This applies to concentrations above 0.1%.
This also applies to the products Grotamar 71 and 82. Therefore these products may actually no longer be sold to the general public by December 1, 2018 at the latest, but only to commercial users. This rule applies to the entire EU. As a solution to this problem, it would be conceivable to subdue the preservatives before the sale of the diesel fuel. The technical data sheet for the product Grotamar 71 indicates that concentrations of 50 – 1000 ppm Grotamar 71 should be used in the fuel. Thus, the MBO concentration in diesel fuel would be below the classification relevant concentration and should also be given to the private user.
What the sale of these products will look like in the future is not yet clear. Until then, however, given the legal changes, owners can only be advised to stock up. SeaHelp will continue to work on this safety-related topic to help design workable solutions for all skippers.