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PFAS restriction proposes the largest European ban ever

ECHA publishes PFAS restriction proposal

On 13th January 2023, the submission of a PFAS restriction proposal was done to the ECHA European Chemical Agency (ECHA) by Five European authorities; Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The five authorities worked together on this PFAS proposal to limit the use of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the European Union after extensively studying PFAS, their uses and the risks they pose to humans and the environment over the past three years. This stage involved the consultation of scientific literature and various requests for information from relevant businesses, public authorities and organisations.

On 7th February 2023, this new restriction proposal was published by ECHA. The restriction proposal seeks to place a ban on both the use and production of PFAS in order to reduce the risks these substances pose to humans and the environment.

PFAS is a group of over 10,000 synthetically produced chemicals that are widely used. They break down very slowly in the environment and have a negative impact on health and environmentally damaging properties.

PFAS are used in a range of everyday products, giving, amongst others, water and dirt-repellent properties. These desirable properties mean they are used in many consumer products. They are used in textiles, food packaging, to create non-slip coatings on frying pans, in coolants for refrigerators and air conditioners, in ski lubrication, electronic devices and paints. PFAS are also used in industrial applications such as in chrome plating, foam suppressors and fluorine-containing plastic materials.

Proposed EU PFAS restriction process

The main stages in the process of banning the use of PFAS will be

  1. ECHA’s Scientific Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) will discuss at their meetings in March 2023 whether the submitted restriction proposal complies with the legal requirements under REACH. After that, the committees will start the scientific examination of the proposal.
  2. A six-month public consultation is expected to start on March 22, 2023. Anyone may submit information or state an opinion about the proposal.
  3. Two ECHA scientific committees – the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and the Socio-Economic Assessment Committee (SEAC) – will present their opinions which are to be completed within 12 months according to the REACH Regulation
  4. The European Commission will draft a definitive proposal for a Member State vote. The ban is subsequently expected to enter into force in 2025.

Key dates in the EU PFAS restriction process

Year PFAS proposal process
2020  January: First meeting  |  May-July: Call for evidence
2021  July-October: 2nd stakeholder consultation  |  October: Start of drafting of proposal
2023  13th January 2023: Submission of the dossier with the new proposal
 7th February 2023: The new proposal is published by ECHA.
 22nd March: Open consultations for 6 months (until 22nd September 2023)
 5th April: online information session by ECHA
2024  Opinion of Committees
2025  COM decision Entry into force
2026 / 2027  Restriction becomes effective


Summary of the PFAS proposal

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are defined as: “Any substance that contains at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3-) or methylene (-CF2-) carbon atom (without any H/Cl/Br/I attached to it).”

Conditions of restriction

  1. Shall not be manufactured, used or placed on the market as substances on their own;
  2. Shall not be placed on the market in

a. another substance, as a constituent

b. a mixture,

c. an article

in a concentration of or above

i. 25 ppb for any PFAS as measured with targeted PFAS analysis (polymeric PFAS excluded from quantification)

ii. 250 ppb for the sum of PFAS measured as sum of targeted PFAS analysis, optionally with prior degradation of precursors (polymeric PFAS excluded from quantification)

iii. 50 ppm for PFAS (polymeric PFAS included). If total fluorine exceeds 50 mg F/kg the manufacturer, importer or downstream user shall upon request provide to the enforcement authorities a proof for the fluorine measured as content of either PFAS or non-PFAS.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall apply 18 months from entry into force of the restriction.

A number of derogations, reporting requirements and management plans implementation have been also provided in the conditions of restriction (Paragraphs 4 to 9). For further information on these, please consult the complete Annex XV restriction report at ECHA website.

For more information, visit the ECHA website.

Eurofins PFAS testing services can help you comply with current and forthcoming global restrictions on PFAS in consumer products, food and feed , water, soil and a wide variety of other matrixes.

Contact us to find out more.

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