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Subsport - Substitution Support Portal

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398-EN, General section

Substitution of carbon black in capping and coving profiles for resilient flooring finishes


A company has removed carbon black from their flexible flooring profiles made of PVC by using the alternative pigment Manganese Ferrite Black Spinel.

Substituted substance(s)

  1. Carbon black

    CAS No. 1333-86-4 EC No. 215-609-9 Index No. 

Alternative substance(s)

  1. Manganese ferrite black spinel

    CAS No. 68186-94-7 EC No. 269-056-3 Index No. 

Other type of alternative

Reliability of information

Evidence of implementation: there is evidence that the solution was implemented and in use at time of publication

Hazard assessment

Carbon black is listed on the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC) as a carcinogen. The alternative substance is not listed on the SDSC and has no official classification.

» Check the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC)

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Substitution description

The flexible PVC flooring profiles are used to finish resilient flooring installations in hospitals, schools, food factories and other sensitive locations. Builders, installation specialists, specifiers and maintenance companies are increasingly concerned to see improvements in any known health or environmental hazard associated with construction products, particularly where they are to be used in sensitive environments. Gemini Adhesives Ltd. has previously replaced phthalate plasticisers in its PVC profiles with TOTM (trioctyl trimellitate) and has used it in a way which overcomes installation and adhesion problems exhibited by phthalate alternatives to DEHP such as DINP (see: The substitution of carbon black was seen as a desirable further improvement due to safety concerns regarding its 2B carcinogen rating. The selection of the Manganese Ferrite Black Spinel was primarily influenced by its excellent compatibility with the phthalate free vinyl compound and the superior scuff resistance achieved by this combination over traditional phthalate softened PVC using carbon black and fillers. This means that the product in situ will retain its appearance and physical integrity despite being subjected to numerous regular mechanical cleaning procedures. The substitute pigment is not considered to have carcinogenic potential or to be toxic to the environment and is approved for use in food packaging and other similar uses.

Although the substitute pigment was considerably more expensive than carbon black the low concentration required resulted in an additional cost of only £.012 per linear metre so did not influence price sensitivity issues.

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Case/substitution evaluation

This case story was provided by a producer. It is describing an alternative pigment for PVC capping and coving profiles. The carcinogenic pigment carbon black can be substituted by using the alternative manganese ferrite black spinel.

The alternative is used as black pigment in PVC. PVC is intrinsically hazardous and although the polymer is not listed in the hazardous substances database according to SUBSPORT screening criteria (SDSC), the monomer – vinyl chloride – is listed in SDSC as carcinogen and does not comply with SUBSPORT criteria. PVC is a polymer associated with many negative aspects, both concerning human health and the environment and should therefore be phased out. PVC is still widely used. The alternative is useful information for applications where it may not be possible to substitute PVC, yet. SUBSPORT provides several case stories for PVC alternatives.

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Other solutions

Further information

MSDS of manganese ferrite black spinel

Further languages available

Who provided the information

Type of information supplier
Producer / distributor


Alan Best
sustainability consultant

Andy Douglas
Gemini Adhesives Ltd
Tel.: +44 (0)1530 224712

Publication source

Type of publication and availability 

Comments from SUBSPORT users

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