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High Temperature Coal Tar Pitch

High Temperature Cola Tar Pitch (htCTP) with EINECS n° 266-028-2. CAS n° 65996-93-2 containing products are key raw materials for the smelting industry. Søderberg/ mixed electrodes, various pastes (hot and/or cold) used for ramming, repair, grouting and tap hole plugging where htCTP is one of the main components.


High Temperature Coal Tar Pitch contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are poorly degradable substances that can be released into the environment. The initial classification of CTP as H400 (Very toxic to aquatic life) and H410 (Very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects) request by the Netherlands and further backed by the European Commission and ECHA has been dismissed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), case T-93/10 and appeal Case C-691/15 P.

In the meantime, EUROALLIAGES had developed with NIVA (Norwegian Institute for Water Research) an environment testing strategy on electrode pastes (mixtures). The official report issued by NIVA in May 2017 called “Ecotoxicological assessment, PAHs accessibility and leaching experiments of Søderberg Electrode Paste” concluded the following:

“the Søderberg Electrode Paste mixture, composed of CTPht (CAS n° 65996-93-2) and Carbonaceous material(s) (e.g., Calcined anthracite, filler grains, petroleum coke and others) should not be hazard classified for the environment based on the results from the acute and chronic ecotoxicity tests”.

On 9 July 2018 an official update of the CLP-regulation has taken into account the Court judgment (C-691/15P) and therefore deleted the harmonized environment classification of htCTP (see link here after):

Notice concerning the classification of pitch, coal tar, high temperature as Aquatic Acute 1 and Aquatic Chronic 1 according to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council

HtCTP is classified as carcinogenic (Article 57a), and is Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) (Article 57d) and very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB) (Article 57e).


High temperature Coal Tar Pitch has been identified as ‘substance of very high concern’ (SVHCs). In June 2017, the substance has been listed on Annex XIV of REACH – the authorisation list - due to its hazard properties. Consequently, all uses of htCTP (n°CAS 65996-93-2) would be prohibited in Europe from 4th October 2020 unless each EU user:

  • Had applied before 9th April 2019 (Latest Application Date) for a specific authorisation for each use; or
  • May benefit from an exemption.

Thanks to a collective work between EUROALLIAGES and relevant downstream users sectors of htCTP, and in particular the Aluminium and Carbon & Graphite sectors, the use of htCTP in anodes/cathodes/electrodes has been exempted from authorisation in 2018 due to the recognised intermediate status, see ECHA Q&A for the Aluminium Industry: ECHA Q&A electrodes.

The Pitch Producers (making the distillation of Coal Tar and the ad-hoc formulation/blending of htCTPht) lodged their applications limited to their manufacturing, indicated that the downstream uses are considered as intermediates. This application was followed by a consultation process launched by ECHA in August 2019.

EUROALLIAGES replied to the consultation underlining the complexity of the process and the related required efficiency due to its energy intensity, the absence of current viable alternatives, as well as the need to preserve the supply chain in Europe:

AfAs htCTP consultation published
In the course of first half of 2020, the Risks Assessment Committee (RAC) and the Socio-Economic Committee (SEAC) issued their opinion on this AfA. SEAC concluded that currently there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives available for the applicant with the same function and similar level of performance. RAC concluded that the operational conditions and risk management measures described in the application are appropriate and effective in limiting the risk. It was proposed to grant the authorisation for a 12-year review period. It is to be noted that no objections from RAC or SEAC was indicated related to the statement of the applicants that downstream uses like electrodes pastes were considered as intermediates uses.