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ECHA Issues Restriction Proposal for PFAS

SafeGuardSToys and Juvenile Products, Automotive, Electrical & Electronics, Hardgoods, Personal and Protective Equipment, SoftlinesFebruary 13, 2023

SG 20/23

The ECHA has issued proposed restrictions on PFAS and provided a planned timeline for their development.

On February 7, 2023, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced its proposed restrictions on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), a unique family of approximately 10,000 substances which are very persistent in the environment. The properties of PFASs, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), to repel water, grease and oil enabled them to be used in a variety of consumer goods, including but not limited to after treatments, apparel, carpets and rugs, cosmetics, electronics and semiconductors, food contact materials and articles, firefighting foam, leather, lubricants, medical devices, non-stick cookware, ski wax, textiles and upholstered furniture.

The restriction proposal was prepared by Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden and is intended to protect human health and the environment.

According to the proposal, PFASs means substances that contain at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3-) or methylene (-CF2-) carbon atom, without any H/Cl/Br/I attached to it. This definition contains few exceptions and is consistent with the July 2021 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (July 2021 OECD) definition.

PFASs are a broad group of substances that include non-polymeric PFASs, such as perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids, perfluorocarbons, perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids and trifluoromethyl substituted substances as well as polymeric PFASs like fluoropolymers, perfluoropolyethers and side-chain fluorinated polymers.

Highlights of the two restriction options (ROs) assessed in the restriction proposal are summarized in Table 1.

ECHA Annex XV Restriction Report, February 7, 2023
Proposal for a Restriction, Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)

Restriction Option (RO) for PFASScopeRequirementRemark
  • Full ban
  • Enters into force after a transition period of 18 months
  • No derogations
  • Substances on their own
  • Enters into force after a transition period of 18 months
  • 5 or 12 years for derogations after transition period ends
  • Time-unlimited derogations only for specific uses
  • Constituent of another substance
  • Mixtures
  • Articles
≤ 25 ppb for any targeted PFAS (polymeric PFASs are exempt)

≤ 250 ppb for sum of targeted PFAS (polymeric PFASs are exempt)

≤ 50 ppm for PFASs, including polymeric PFASs*

*If total fluorine exceeds 50 mg/kg, proof for the fluorine measured as content of either PFASs or non-PFASs is required if requested by enforcement authorities

Table 1

The following are important planned dates for the PFAS restriction proposal:

  • March 22, 2023 - start of six month consultation
  • April 5, 2023 – online information session to explain the restriction process
  • September 22, 2023 – end of six month consultation
  • 2024 – opinion of Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Social-economic Analysis (SEAC)
  • 2025 – Commission decision and entry into force
  • 2026/2027 – restriction becomes effective

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