It seems that May 9 may be an important day for the alcohol industry. This date became the starting point in the winter windshield washer fluid composition change. Since May 9, 2019, the methyl alcohol content in the windshield wash fluid was banned across the European Union.
It all started in January 2015, when Poland submitted to the European Chemicals Agency a dossier with the initiative to limit the methanol use in windscreen washer fluid. The proposed restriction was based on the exceptional hazards and methyl alcohol risks to human health. It was confirmed after a series poisonings reports, including deaths, in seven EU member states.
In April 2016, the European Commission decided that the interesting parts should be given sufficient time to take the necessary measures to comply with the proposed restriction, therefore, its implementation should be postponed for 3 years in to allow producers to switch to safer raw materials.
In Annex XVII of Regulation 1907/2006 (REACH) the following restrictions are imposed for methyl alcohol: “Do not place on the market for use by the general public after 9 May 2018 in windshield washer fluid or de-icing fluids in concentrations higher or equal to 0.6% by weight.” (Methanol CAS 67-56-1, CE 200-659-6). This restriction is binding in its entirety and directly applicable to all EU Member States. ”
Ethyl alcohol will be the safest substitute for the methanol that will soon be banned. It is not toxic and therefore doesn’t represent a serious danger to consumers. About 30% of windshield washer fluids produced in the world are from Europe. About 30 million alcohol tons are required to produce such windshield washers fluid volume. Approximately 30 million alcohol tons alcohol are required to produce this windshield washer fluid volume.
According to experts’ predictions, the restrictions adopted for methanol will give a significant impetus to the alcohol industry development in Europe.