It’s only a mat­ter of “when”: PFAS ban incoming

Ano­ther step towards a PFAS restriction

Per- and poly­fluo­ro­al­kyl sub­s­tances (PFAS) is used as a coll­ec­ti­ve term for a group of syn­the­tic che­mi­cals. Some PFASs, such as PFOS and PFOA, are alre­a­dy strict­ly regu­la­ted, in some cases glo­bal­ly. Howe­ver, from an aut­ho­ri­ties‘ per­spec­ti­ve, such case-by-case regu­la­ti­on does not pro­vi­de an effec­ti­ve pro­tec­tion of the human health and the envi­ron­ment in view of the hazar­dous pro­per­ties all PFAS have in common.

The pro­po­sed rest­ric­tion scenario

The pro­po­sal eva­lua­tes two rest­ric­tion opti­ons (RO) the regu­la­ting the pro­duc­tion, the use and the pla­cing on the mar­ket of about 10,000 PFAS:

  • a com­ple­te ban wit­hout exemp­ti­ons (“full ban”) (RO1)
  • a com­ple­te ban with spe­ci­fic, time-limited exemp­ti­ons for cer­tain uses (RO2)

As it appears from the comm­ents in the rest­ric­tion pro­po­sal, the sub­mit­ting natio­nal aut­ho­ri­ties are awa­re that it may be impos­si­ble to sub­sti­tu­te – at least cer­tain – PFAS. To “avo­id unde­si­ra­ble social impacts” and to “enhan­ce a smooth tran­si­ti­on”, the RO2 sce­na­rio is preferred: 

  1. Start­ing with the inclu­si­on of PFAS in Annex XVII REACh, an ini­tal 18-month tran­si­ti­on peri­od shall commence.
  2. Once said tran­si­ti­on peri­od expi­red, the
  • the manu­fac­tu­re, import and use of PFASs as such, and
  • the pla­cing on the mar­ket and use of PFASs as a con­sti­tu­ent of (ano­ther) sub­s­tance, in mix­tures or in artic­les, if cer­tain con­cen­tra­ti­on limits are exceeded,

shall be prohibited.

  1. Cer­tain uses of par­ti­cu­lar PFASs will remain per­mit­ted for the dura­ti­on of a “sun­set peri­od” fol­lo­wing the tran­si­ti­on peri­od (eit­her 5 or 12 years, depen­ding on the exemp­ti­on). The­se tem­po­ra­ry exemp­ti­ons con­cern, inter alia, the use of PFASs in per­so­nal pro­tec­ti­ve equip­ment, ref­ri­ger­ants and food cont­act materials. 
  2. Per­ma­nent exemp­ti­ons from the above-mentioned pro­hi­bi­ti­ons are only pro­vi­ded for acti­ve sub­s­tances in bio­ci­dal pro­ducts, plant pro­tec­tion pro­ducts and in human and vete­ri­na­ry medi­cinal products.

The fur­ther pro­ce­du­re: take action

ECHA’s Sci­en­ti­fic Com­mit­tees for Risk Assess­ment (RAC) and for Socio-Economic Ana­ly­sis (SEAC) are curr­ent­ly asses­sing whe­ther the pro­po­sal meets the legal requi­re­ments. If this is the case, the­se com­mit­tees will assess whe­ther the pro­po­sal is sui­ta­ble to miti­ga­te the poten­ti­al risk and eva­lua­te whe­ther the bene­fits of the pro­po­sal are ade­qua­te in view of the socie­tal impacts. In doing so, the com­mit­tees will take into account both the jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons in the proposal’s jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons and comm­ents as well as the out­co­me of a public con­sul­ta­ti­on. The six-month con­sul­ta­ti­on peri­od will start on March 22, 2023 and will pro­vi­de stake­hol­ders with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sub­mit risk-related and socio-economic jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons for fur­ther exemptions.


An exten­si­ve rest­ric­tion would have a serious impact on many eco­no­mic sec­tors. Com­pa­nies, indus­tries and asso­cia­ti­ons should use the con­sul­ta­ti­on peri­od to influence the final rest­ric­tion and prepa­re accor­din­gly. ECHA is offe­ring an infor­ma­ti­on event on 5 April.


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