ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | March 2018

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Organically protected

New pre-lacquered steel for aerosol mounting cups does away with BPA

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ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products has announced the development of a new pre-lacquered steel which eliminates bisphenol A (BPA) from the mounting cups of aerosol cans. The product can be used in aerosols for personal care, beauty and cosmetic, food, and the household. It will give consumers peace of mind while enabling canmakers to standardise production across markets. The BPA-NI (bisphenol-A non-intentionally included) pre-lacquered steel for mounting cups complements ArcelorMittal’s other BPA-NI pre-lacquered steels for tabstocks and ends.

Aerosol mounting cups are one of the most demanding components of an aerosol can

Since the 1960s, BPA has been included in the epoxy lacquers which are applied to tinplate to prevent the contents of a can coming into direct contact with the steel or aluminium outer. A number of studies have found links between BPA and health problems. These studies led to France banning BPA in 2015 for all food contact applications. The following year, the state of California (USA) introduced mandatory product labelling to indicate packaging which may include BPA.

Canmakers look for alternatives

Although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion in early 2015 which found BPA poses no health risks to consumers, the banning of the substance in some markets has forced canmakers to seek alternatives. ArcelorMittal has already developed pre-lacquered BPA-NI steels for tabstocks and ends, and these products are now undergoing customer trials.

In addition to the BPA-NI pre-lacquered steel for aerosol mounting cups, ArcelorMittal has developed other BPA-NI products for tabstocks and ends

To answer strong customer demand, ArcelorMittal began developing a BPA-NI pre-lacquered steel for aerosol mounting cups in parallel. In total, ArcelorMittal has tested more than ten different lacquer solutions and is currently at the industrial validation stage with one.

Industrial samples have been produced and their performance is currently being validated with customers and in scientific tests. Key tests have focussed on formability, adhesiveness, and the response of the coating to aerosol content simulants including water, alcohol, and alkaline solutions.

BPA-NI coating performing well in tests

In almost all cases, the BPA-NI product has performed as well as traditional epoxy products which contain BPA, particularly for water and alcohol-based simulants. For strongly aggressive alkaline media, the performance of the BPA-NI coating is slightly lower, but still within the acceptable range.

Customer trials of ArcelorMittal’s BPA-NI pre-lacquered steel for aerosol mounting cups are showing positive results as they near completion

A key test still underway is the six-month test of cans packed with cosmetic formulations. These trials are being conducted with major ArcelorMittal customers and cosmetic brands. Positive results have already been obtained and final approval from customers is expected soon.

Anticipating future REACH regulations, ArcelorMittal has also developed a chromium free (Cr-free) passivated tinplate coated with a BPA-NI lacquer. Although at an earlier stage of development, this combination is exhibiting similar positive results.

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