GST risk awareness

An open letter from Ritec International to all users of alcohol-based glass surface treatments and their suppliers.

This open letter is based on information compiled from independent, third-party sources as a public service by Ritec International. The objective is to raise awareness of risks and hidden dangers caused by hazardous, alcohol-based glass surface treatments (GSTs) and suppliers.

Actions by authorities are now independently verifying numerous risks and hidden dangers. These actions are also revealing ways that some suppliers are using deceptions and cover-ups to conceal the truth and exposing identities of the companies responsible.

Hazardous products are allowed on condition that legal requirements are met. Some suppliers are unfortunately breaking up to ten laws and placing their customers at risk of breaking the same laws – without them knowing it.

For a number of years, Ritec openly expressed concerns about GST technologies classified as hazardous and their suppliers. Sometimes these concerns were met with requests for independent verifications, so Ritec embarked on a mission to substantiate the concerns by compiling information from independent sources.

This mission is now complete.

Actions by authorities are independently verifying numerous risks and hidden dangers caused by alcohol-based GSTs and their suppliers. Details are available as shown in the note below, including a list of the ten laws being broken by some alcohol-based GST suppliers.

Government agencies, glass trade associations, and other independent organisations are taking actions that:

  • independently verify concerns about serious risks and hidden dangers.

As an example, the British government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published in July 2017 a comprehensive, 40-page report: ‘Summary of Evidence: Solvent-Based Hydrophobic Coatings and Risks for Acute Respiratory Toxicity’.

Other independent sources have independently verified that some alcohol-based GSTs contain hazardous substances that are not disclosed by suppliers to their customers. Included are hazardous substances that are banned or restricted in many countries – added by distributors to improve water-repellence and/or reduce costs.

  • reveal deceptions and cover-ups used by some suppliers.

As an example, recent prosecutions and convictions by a regional criminal court in Germany revealed two companies and their owner with long histories of deceptions and cover-ups involving alcohol-based GSTs. The companies used their distribution chain for illegal purposes and the owner was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2006, the same companies as above, the same owner, and the same alcohol-based GST technology were identified by the German federal government as responsible for the infamous ‘Magic Nano sealer for glass and ceramics’ scandal.

  • verify four technologies, including the one referred to above, for hazardous, alcohol-based GSTs

Authorities have, in fact, independently identified a total of five basic types of technologies for GSTs, four of which are classified as hazardous.

The fifth type of technology, Ritec ClearShield, is the only GST not classified as hazardous, and ClearShield is the only brand name in this category of technology.

Some producers of the four hazardous technologies sell through networks of distributors and sub-distributors – offering a choice of finished product or concentrate for self-blending. Largely, as a result of self-blending, there are more than 180 different rebrands or private labels worldwide for the four hazardous technologies.

Information from independent sources also verifies that suppliers are:

  • making their own commercial and technical claims, which are often false, misleading and possibly fraudulent
  • using substances that are banned or restricted in many countries, but are not disclosed by suppliers
  • breaking up to ten laws and placing customers at risk of breaking the same laws, without them knowing it

Since some authorities have openly published results of their actions, firm evidence is now available from independent sources verifying numerous risks and hidden dangers to glass and glazing companies.

Ritec has a legal ‘duty to warn’ and a moral ‘duty of care’ based on:

  • results of actions by authorities openly and publicly verifying concerns about risks and hidden dangers of hazardous, alcohol-based GSTs
  • experience and in-depth knowledge gained since 1981 as pioneer and market developer for Ritec ClearShield – the only GST technology not classified as hazardous

In Ritec’s position as market leader, we have researched and monitored  each GST technology and brand name since it entered the market.

Considering all the above, Ritec strongly recommends that:

  • suppliers of alcohol-based GSTs ‘sell it like it is, tell it like it is’, instead of placing themselves and their customers at serious risk by concealing or downplaying the truths
  • users of alcohol-based GSTs carry out due diligence by a) questioning suppliers about the concerns expressed in this open letter, and b) requesting independent verifications for their responses
  • depending on the suppliers’ responses, users take prompt actions to reduce or eliminate any hazards – for the sake of the company, its employees and business reputation

For more information, such as independent verifications for statements in this open letter, please contact Ritec International (www.ritec.co.uk) by sending an e-mail to slb@ritec.co.uk.

Ritec International Ltd
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