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PFAS restriction: is the end in sight?

Danish, German, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish national authorities have submitted a proposal to ECHA to restrict per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under REACH. These authorities have investigated different PFAS, their uses and the risks they may pose to people and the environment.

The proposal states that PFAS should be better controlled in Europe.

PFAS – also known as ‘forever chemicals’ - are a group of almost 5,000 chemicals that are used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. These coatings are found in a variety of products (frying pans, paint, some clothing to name a few) as its water-repelling properties and durability are very useful.

PFAS either are, or degrade to, very persistent chemicals that can accumulate in humans, animals and the environment and may cause adverse effects. They are widely present in the environment, in soil, groundwater or surface water and in food.

The five national authorities submitting the proposal found risks in the manufacture, placement on the market and use of PFASs that are not adequately controlled and need to be addressed throughout Europe.

The supporting documents need to be checked by the ECHA and then the proposed restriction will be made available on 7 February.

In EurEau, we want micropollutants in the environment to be dealt with in a holistic manner by all stakeholders involved along a products entire life cycle starting from strong precautionary and Control at Source measures.

Given their persistency and mobility properties of PFAS and the impossibility of water operators to effectively remove them from the urban water cycle, all uses of PFAS should be phased out rapidly. The REACH restriction initiated by these five Member States must lead to zero PFAS emissions into the environment.

You can find more information on the next steps and a time line on the ECHA page here.


Links to key positions and briefings

Briefing note on sludge and the circular economy - the impact of PFAS

Position paper on PFAS in the urban water cycle (2022 update)

Briefing note on drinking water and PFAS

Briefing note on waste water and PFAS

Briefing note on treating micropollutants at the waste water treatment plant

Position paper on the holistic approach to addressing micropollutants - 2019 update of source control

Briefing note on moving forward on PMT and vPvM substances

Deloitte Study on the Feasibility of Applying Extended Producer Responsibility to Micropollutants and Microplastics Emitted in the Aquatic Environment From Products During Their Life Cycle

water, EurEau, PFAS, control at source, europe, ECHA

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