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Management of Chemical Substances

Initiatives for Reduction of Air Pollutants

VOCs*1 emitted to the atmosphere react with ultraviolet rays from the sun, resulting in photochemical oxidants and suspended particulate matter. Among raw materials used by the Sumitomo Riko Group are adhesives mainly used for bonding rubber with fittings and gum arabic used for hoses containing VOCs, which are released to the atmosphere as they dry. Therefore, we are working to reduce emissions of VOCs, including through development of spray guns with high coating efficiency, the shift to water-soluble paints, reduction of waste from adhesive coating equipment, and prevention of volatilization. As well as continuing these activities, we will tackle new themes, such as the shift to water-soluble adhesives, in cooperation with suppliers.

  • *1 VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds
VOC emissions (Sumitomo Riko Group in Japan)
Graph: VOC emissions
  • *2 Data boundary: Sumitomo Riko and eight Sumitomo Riko Group companies in Japan.
  • *3 The denominator of the emission intensity is net sales of companies within the boundary of data aggregation (after elimination of intracompany transactions).
  • *4 The amount of VOC emissions was calculated based on the "Voluntary Action Plan for Reducing VOC Emissions" formulated by the Japan Rubber Manufacturers Association.

VOC and Vulcanization Gas Treatment Equipment Management

VOC and vulcanization gas treatment equipment is directly connected to production facilities, and there is a risk of production stoppage due to malfunctions such as "fire" or "exceeding emission limits due to failure stop". Therefore, we have made a guidebook for each of our sites to inform them of the precautions to be taken in the design and operation of these processing units. In the guidebook, in order to prevent the reoccurrence of recent problems with VOC and vulcanization gas treatment equipment, we introduce examples of problems, their probable causes, and measures to prevent reoccurrence, which will lead to Kaizen activities.

Examples of countermeasures at overseas sites for VOC emissions and gases generated by vulcanization

1.VOC reduction measures


Combustion-type VOC treatment equipment, TRJ (China)

In order to respond to increasingly stringent legal controls of VOC emissions by various countries, as well as reducing consumption of materials containing VOCs, we have introduced combustion-type or adsorption-type VOC treatment equipment at sites in China, the U.S., Poland, and other countries where direct emissions of VOCs to the atmosphere are restricted.

2.Countermeasures for gases generated by vulcanization


Equipment for treatment of gases generated by vulcanization, TRM (China)

Environmental regulations in China have become stricter, starting with the central environmental authority's investigation in 2016 that resulted in many companies being punished. The authority strongly urged Sumitomo Group companies to ensure compliance concerning emission concentration of non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) generated by rubber kneading and vulcanization. In this context, we are step-by-step introducing combustion-type equipment and equipment employing photooxidation catalyst etc., which are specifically for treating gases generated by vulcanization. As a result, emission concentration decreased to a level below 1 mg/m3 and the Group companies satisfied the requirement.

Appropriate Management of Ozone-depleting Substances

For the protection of the ozone layer and the prevention of global warming, we are pursuing reductions in the release of fluorocarbons into the atmosphere and adopting natural refrigerants. In fiscal 2020, the volume of leakages was approximately 247t-CO2, based on the Act on Rational Use and Appropriate Management of Fluorocarbons. We manage operations with regular inspections in accordance with the legislation, and collect waste in the appropriate manner. Going forward, we will continue to upgrade our equipment systematically to reduce the use of CFCs.

Appropriate Storage of Equipment Containing PCBs

A polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) is inflammable, has high electric insulation and is chemically stable. In the past, the Sumitomo Riko Group used high-voltage transformers and capacitors containing PCBs. However, following the enforcement of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and legal controls imposed by various countries, manufacturing and use of PCBs were banned, in principle, and stringent storage management of PCBs and systematic disposal of waste containing PCBs are mandatory. The Sumitomo Riko Group has identified items subject to control and has stored them appropriately, while systematically promoting their appropriate disposal in accordance with the regulations of the respective countries. With the completion of the disposal of waste containing high-concentration PCBs at the Matsusaka Plant in the spring of 2020, all disposal of such waste in Japan came to an end.

Asbestos Countermeasures


Guidebook on asbestos countermeasures

In the past, asbestos was widely used in building materials and parts and components of facilities because of its excellent properties with respect to heat resistance, fire resistance, insulation, and sound-proofing. However, since the relation between asbestos and damage to health was scientifically clarified, use of asbestos has been controlled or banned in Japan and many other countries. The Sumitomo Riko Group reinvestigated the situation of the use of asbestos in its buildings etc. in 2017 and confirmed that no problem existed. Regarding parts and materials that were subsequently identified as containing asbestos, we swiftly implemented measures to sequester or enclose asbestos and are applying appropriate management and treatment. Moreover, we have prepared a guidebook on appropriate management of asbestos and cautions to be observed when repairing or removing materials containing asbestos, which is used for education and training.

Management of Chemical Substances in Procured Items

Sumitomo Riko Group manufactures a wide range of industrial rubber and resin products, including automotive components, office equipment components and industrial materials. We use raw materials and other items containing various chemical substances to manufacture such products. We manage these materials appropriately to minimize their hazardous properties and thereby prevent contamination of the local area, ensure workplace and product safety and comply with products requirements from customers.

Establishment of controlled chemical substances and its operation

Sumitomo Riko specifies chemical substances to be managed in light of laws and regulations of various countries and customers' requirements. It determines which chemical substances are subject to management based on the EU's ELV Directive*5, the RoHS Directive*6, REACH*7, laws and regulations in Japan, GADSL*8, and IEC62474*9. To ensure that all our products are free of chemical substances subject to control, we strictly adhere to all the rules concerning each department's role and the application procedures, monitor the substances contained in our products, and are making efforts concerning information disclosure.

  • *5 ELV Directive: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on End-of Life Vehicles
  • *6 RoHS Directive: EU restrictions on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
  • *7 REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, an EU regulation on chemicals and their safe use
  • *8 GADSL: Global Automotive Declarable Substance List
  • *9 IEC62474: Material Declaration for Products of and for the Electro-technical Industry

Compliance with Overseas Regulations of Chemical Substances

Sumitomo Riko exports materials, parts and finished products from Japan to the Group's production sites overseas. With the cooperation of suppliers and importers, we endeavor to ensure full compliance with applicable regulations such as the EU REACH Regulations (2008), China's Measures on Environmental Administration of New Chemical Substances (2010)*10 and Measures for the Administration of Registration of Hazardous Chemicals (revised in 2011)*11, and the US TSCA (revised in 2016)*12.

  • *10 Measures on Environmental Administration of New Chemical Substances: China's regulations on registration of chemical substances
  • *11 Measures for the Administration of Registration of Hazardous Chemicals: China's regulations on management of hazardous substances
  • *12 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): U.S. regulations on record-keeping relating to chemical substances and management of hazardous substances