Why do some Schneider products bear the indication "Ink contains preservative C(M)IT/MIT"?
Under the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (No. 528/2012), the approval procedure for biocidal substances requires that in some cases the products treated with them most also be correspondingly labelled. Writing instruments containing the active substance C(M)IT/MIT and produced on or after 1 July 2017 must bear an indication to that effect.
Why are preservatives used in ink products?
Water-based inks contain preservatives to protect them from deterioration during storage, to ensure that the products have a sufficient shelf-life, and to preserve the hygiene status of a product. The preservatives prevent infestation by fungi or bacteria, for example.
What is C(M)IT/MIT?
C(M)IT/MIT is a compound that plays an important role as a biocide. It is used against microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) in watery substances such as inks, but also in shower gels, shampoos and cosmetics (which do not remain on the skin).
Why is C(M)IT/MIT now subject to compulsory labelling?
To be quite clear: C(M)IT/MIT is not a banned substance. If used improperly, however, it may be a source of risk to the environment and health. The Biocidal Product Regulation stipulates that consumer goods in the EU may only be treated with biocidal agents that are approved for the application in question. The purpose of the labelling is to inform the consumer of the substances contained in the product. Labelling is required irrespective of the concentration contained in the product.
What risks may be posed by writing instruments containing the preservative C(M)IT/MIT?
Direct contact with the ink may cause sensitisation of the skin. Concentrations of less than 0.0015%, such as those approved for use in inks, are not considered to be skin-sensitising or allergenic. Approval for use with the same concentration also exists for cosmetics (which do not remain on the skin), e.g. shampoos and liquid soaps. By way of comparison: A closely written A4 sheet corresponds to an ink quantity of less than 0.1 ml, while washing the hair involves the use of 5-10 ml of shampoo.
For persons who are already allergic to these substances, even smaller concentrations can already trigger an allergic reaction. Schneider has no knowledge of any such case caused by the use of writing instruments. A reaction of this kind would require that the pen had been used for writing on the skin; however, that would not constitute an intended purpose of our writing instruments.