A proposal has been submitted to ban the use of PFAS. The proposal is part of the largest substance ban ever submitted in Europe.
The intended ban covers both the use and production of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This group includes about 10,000 different substances. The common denominator among these materials is that they offer a product a high-quality finish and/or improve the production process for products.
Good examples of PFAS being used in products are the non-stick coating for pans and the waterproofing of clothing.
PFAS are also used in the production process of synthetic turf yarn where a PFAS-containing lubricant prevents the hot plastic yarn from sticking to the extruder machines during the production process. Consequently, a very miniscule quantity of PFAS becomes part of the yarn.
As substances that are classified as PFAS do not or hardly degrade, once their presence is detected in soil, they are classified as contamination. Some PFAS are also harmful to health.
With all this in mind, the Dutch, Danish, German, Norwegian and Swedish authorities decided in 2019 to draft a proposal to ban further use of the substances.
Now that the restriction proposal has been submitted, the public consultation will start on 7 February. During that process, anyone interested can provide additional or refuting information.
The public consultation process will enable the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to further develop the proposal, after which the two bodies that, combined, form ECHA, will deliver their advice. Based on the advice, the European Commission will either ratify the proposal or hand it back to ECHA to further develop the proposal.
The proposal is expected to be submitted to the European Commission by mid-2024. Before a ban actually takes effect, it must first be accepted by the World Trade Organization (WTO). That procedure usually takes an additional 6 months after the European Commission has made its decision.