There are three basic criteria used to assess level of environmental acceptability of railway lubricants. Environmentally acceptable lubricant (EAL) is biodegradable, exhibits low toxicity to aquatic organisms and has a low potential for bioaccumulation.
Biodegradability. To assess and confirm biodegradability of CHFC composite materials the OECD 301B test method has been chosen. This test method is generally accepted in railway sector. It has proven acceptable level of biodegradability of the CHFC composite materials.
Toxicity to aquatic organisms. OECD 202 and OECD 201 test methods are used to assess toxicity on water organisms and water flora, respectively. This toxicology testing methods are commonly required for different product applications claiming to be environmentally acceptable or friendly. Results show that CHFC composite materials are not toxic to water fauna and/or flora.
Bioaccumulation. CHFC do not contain heavy metals or substances restricted by the EU regulation REACH that limits the use of persistent, toxic and bio-accumulative (PTB) and very persistent and very bio-accumulative (vPvB) substances.
Conclusion: CHFC composite materials exhibit low level of environmental impact as proven with relevant testing methods by third parties. Their use in the railway sector has further indirect positive influences on the environment. They are arguably the most efficient method for reducing wear of rails and wheels that both contain heavy metals. Therefore by using CHFC heavy metal and other environmental load is reduced. Finally, the CHFC’s impact on the environment is minimized because compared to the most frequently used lubricants/friction modifiers much lower quantities are required to deliver results.