Plastic Additives

Improving transparency and supporting sound management of additives

Additives Play an Important Role

They provide many important benefits to plastics and can help us move towards a more sustainable future. Additives can extend the life of a wind turbine that is regularly exposed to the elements, increase the effectiveness of packaging to protect food from spoiling, save energy by lightweighting products, strengthen and increase the flexibility of medical products for use in healthcare environments, and increase the durability of numerous products so they last longer and can be reused.

The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) understands there are questions and concerns about additives in plastics. To help answer those questions and provide greater transparency, ICCA is developing a Plastic Additives Database that builds upon the UN Environment Programme’s Chemicals in Plastics Technical Report.

In many parts of the world, there are strong regulatory frameworks in place for chemicals, including chemical additives in plastics. ICCA’s Plastic Additives Database will leverage the extensive information and resources from those systems, bolster that material with data from additive manufacturers, and publicly share the contents in a user-friendly format. The information will include:

  • The identification, use and function of additives that are currently in commerce or that have been in commerce for the past 10 years.
  • Available hazard classifications of an additive.
  • Reference/citation to existing chemical management laws regulating specific additives.

As the database aggregates large datasets of complex information, it will be rolled out in phases with the first version anticipated in 2024.

This overview is intended to provide more information about the forthcoming database and the information it will contain. Subsequent versions of the database will contain more data components, and changes may occur to improve the database’s functionality, utility, and user experience.

Searching for an Additive

A user of the additives database will be able to search for additives with the following parameters:

  • CAS number
  • Chemical name
  • InChiKey (International Chemical Identifier)
  • Additive function (e.g., UV stabilizer, heat stabilizer, etc.)
  • Industrial sectors using additives (e.g., automotive, food packaging)
  • Polymer type

Additive Search Results

The database will have multiple outputs that convey a significant amount of information on specific additives, see the examples below:

Additive Overview
  • Technical function and types of uses
  • Country and regional registration
Additive Identification
  • Molecular formula
  • Unique identifiers (e.g., Cas No.)
  • Exact mass (g/mol)
  • Verification by manufacturers of additive use in commerce
Additive Use Information:
  • Function of substance
  • Polymer type additive has been reported in
  • Industrial sector(s) using additive
  • Regions / countries where substance is registered / notified
Commercial Information:
  • Confidence of use of additive in plastic in the past 10 years
Health and Environmental Information:
  • Hazard classification as determined by countries / jurisdictions / manufacturers
Regulatory Information of Additive
  • Regulatory status of additive by existing chemical management programs/laws across major parts of the globe
Risk Assessment Information of Additive
  • Aggregated health and environmental benchmarks and modeled information, including “no effect” levels.

Subsequent versions of ICCA’s Plastic Additives Database are envisioned to contain additional information, including:

  • Leaching potential based on physical and structural properties.
  • Integrated fit-for-purpose risk assessment information to enhance informed decision-making by users across the value chain including recyclers and regulators.
    • Hazard, exposure, and/or risk assessments conducted by authoritative bodies, including links to publicly available assessments (e.g., US Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada).
  • Additional specificity on laws/regulations in country/jurisdiction regulating additives.