SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 170/16

SafeGuardS liquid chemicals

The European Union (EU) is proposing to regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and similar substances under Annex XVII of REACH. If approved, the measures will be implemented in phases starting 2020.

On October 6, 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated notification G/TBT/N/EU/411 from the EU to announce its draft Regulation to regulate PFOA, its salts and other PFOA-related substances in a wide variety of products and applications. According to the definitions, PFOA-related substances are defined as any related substances, including their salts and polymers, with a linear or branched perfluoroheptyl group (C7F15) attached directly to another carbon atom. 

According to the draft Regulation, attached to WTO document 16-5339, [1] PFOA is identified as a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substance (PBT). It has been on the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) since June 2013, and is a candidate for listing under Annex XIV (Authorization List) of REACH.


The substances in this draft Regulation are used in a wide variety of applications, such as an anti-repellent agent for grease, oil and/or dirt in textile and paper materials, manufacture of fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers for non-stick coatings in pans and cookware, and as surfactants in fire-fighting foam.

There are a number of exemptions on the use of these substances in this proposal. Some of these are:

  • The manufacture of implantable medical devices (Directive 93/42/EEC)
  • In photographic coatings applied to films, paper or printing plates
  • In semi-conductor photo-lithography processes or etching processes for compound semiconductors

Highlights of the draft Regulation in relation to some of the restrictions and prohibitions are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: WTO Document # 16-5339 of October 6 2016, Proposed entry 68 to Annex XVII of REACH in relation to some of the restrictions and prohibitions

Substance Scope Requirement Effective date
  • PFOA and its salts
  • PFOA-related substances
Substance Prohibited Potentially 2020
  • Constituent of another substance
  • Mixture
  • Article or part of an article

(see also draft Regulation for specifics)

  • 25 ppb (PFOA and its salts) 
  • 1000 ppb (one or a combination
    of PFOA-related substances)

In the last few months, the WTO has circulated notifications from the EU announcing its intentions to restrict the following substances under Annex XVII of REACH:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper [2]
  • Decabromodiphenyl ether (deca-BDE) in consumer products [3]
  • Methanol in denatured alcohol and windscreen washing or defrosting fluids [4]

SVHC may be introduced into various consumer products due to the complexities of both the supply chain and production process. Identifying high risk products or materials or having a test strategy can also be a smart way to ensure compliance and save costs.  If you would like to learn more about how SGS can support your REACH compliance activities please visit

For enquiries, please contact:

Hing Wo Tsang
t: +852 2774 7420

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