Rockwood Pigments (NYSE: ROC) have received Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the US for their ‘Solaplex’ pigments to be used in specialised applications that involve indirect food contact.

The pigments, which contain tin and are designed to be eco-friendly, provide a “non-toxic alternative” to similar products, which often contain lead chromates or other heavy metals.

According to an article by the International Tin Research Centre (ITRI), demand for tin for such uses as children’s toys and play equipment, food and personal care packaging, household goods and bakeware is increasing, as the health risks of particularly lead chromate-based pigments become more apparent and regulation of such products is revised.

The FDA approval means tin-containing pigments are providing another major step towards the goal of replacing lead-chromates within pigment products.

Tin is already proving its broad applications in consumer products, such as its growing use in smartphones, iPods and lithium batteries. It also plays a part in animal healthcare and in the oral hygiene industry, through its use in toothpaste. Other tin pigments are used in automotive and other coatings, engineering plastics and road marking paints.

Tin pigments provide many benefits over other metal-based colours. US producers The Shepherd Color Company announced earlier this year the introduction of their tin-based pigments, citing “non-toxicity, excellent opacity, good compatibility, excellent chemical resistance and weathering characteristics, and high heat stability” as major advantages of the products.

Source: ITRI