The EU may further restrict perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS)
Introduction to the PFAS Restriction Proposal
On January 13, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden jointly submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) a proposal for REACH restrictions on perfluorinated or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). The proposed restriction contains the largest number of PFASs in history, and ECHA will announce the details of the proposal on February 7, 2023.
In the past three years, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have conducted a detailed investigation on a variety of PFASs substances. The results show that these PFASs substances can not fully control risks in the process of production and marketing, and the use of these substances may cause harm to human health and the environment.
Evaluation and Review Process of the Restriction Proposal
The restriction proposal will be strictly evaluated and reviewed in accordance with the regulations, and the ECHA Scientific Committee on Risk Assessment (RAC) and the Committee on Socio-Economic Analysis (SEC) will review whether the proposal meets the requirements of the EU REACH regulation at their meeting in March 2023.
If approved, the review will be initiated in accordance with the EU REACH regulation, and a six-month public consultation will be launched from March 22, 2023. Once the RAC and SEC review opinions are passed, the decision will be sent to the European Commission to make a final decision on whether to adopt the restriction proposal.
Once the restriction bill falls to the ground, it is believed that it will have a great impact on the entire chemical industry and supply chain.
Harmful Effects of PFAS on the Environment and Human Health
"Restriction or even total prohibition of PFAS is imperative."
PFAS refers to perfluorinated or polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are widely used in various industries.
PFAS is chemically stable because it contains one of the most stable chemical structures in organic chemistry, the carbon-fluorine covalent bond, which means that once PFAS leaks into the natural environment, they will cause persistent pollution to the environment. PFAS has been detected in groundwater, surface water and soil, and if not restricted, it will cause greater harm to the natural environment and human survival.
Since scientists discovered that long-chain PFAS can cause harm to human body and the environment more than a decade ago, manufacturers around the world have gradually replaced long-chain PFAS with short-chain PFAS or other fluorine-free substances. However, this is still far from enough, and many alternative substances are still harmful to human body and natural environment.
Therefore, it is imperative to restrict or even completely ban the use of PFAS, and relevant enterprises have to prepare for market assessment and chemical substitution.
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