CARY, N.C. — A specialty chemicals company is trying to derail the potential federal reclassification of a rubber additive that could decrease the use of the material dramatically.
At issue is dry ground quinone dioxime (QDO), a non-sulfur vulcanizing agent commonly used as a stabilizer in the producing synthetic rubber used in tires.
Parker Lord, a unit of Parker Hannifin Corp., is concerned about the potential reclassification of QDO as an explosive material under U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations that would essentially limit its use.
QDO is listed as a flammable material, but a change to the explosive classification would cause costs of handling, transportation and storage of the material to skyrocket, Jack Melhorn, marketing manager of specialty materials at Parker Lord, said.
"Our goal right now is to raise awareness," he said. "This is happening to QDO right now, but it's not limited to QDO (in the future)."
Parker Lord is concerned that the DOT could set precedence by reclassifying the material in an approach that could then trickle down to include other chemicals.
"If we don't get ahead of this, the future will impact the chemistry to make your rubber products," Mr. Melhorn said.
Parker Lord seeks a special permit to "authorize the transportation in commerce of a certain explosive (quinone dioxime) as a flammable solid," according to a notice in the Federal Register. That would maintain the status quo and set precedence for other companies also involved with QDO to also apply for similar permits.
DOT is in a comment period to allow for interested parties to submit their views on the potential change, and Parker Lord wants people to know about the potential change and provide their views while they have the chance.
"QDO is used in a lot of rubber curatives," Mr. Melhorn said, including those serving the tire industry.
The material has been safely shipped in its decades of production and the material is considered non-hazardous by both China and India, he said.
While Parker Lord is most immediately concerned about the future of QDO, Mr. Melhorn said the company also is worried about the potential for similar reclassification of other chemicals by the federal government over time.
QDO is made by Parker Lord and then sold to specialty chemical companies that include the material in dispersion packs that are formulated to manufacturers' specifications. These pack are included in the processing of synthetic rubber according to the characteristics needed in final products.
In a notice sent out by Parker Lord, the company asked those interested in supporting the current classification to email [email protected] or call 814-314-2992. The deadline for comment to the federal government is June 9.
Parker Hannifin acquired Cary-based Lord Corp. in 2019.