On Feb. 7, 2023, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an agency of the European Union (EU)has put forward a proposal aimed at limiting the use of nearly 10,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) throughout the European Union. This proposal covers all applications of PFAS. It also highlights the dangers of exposure to PFAS to both the environment and human health. The agency predicts that without restrictions, around 4.4 million tons of PFAS will enter the environment over the next three decades.
The proposal outlines two restriction options with different transition periods and use-specific exemptions. Thus, the first option would impose a total ban with no exemptions and a 18-month transition period. The second option would impose a full ban with limited exemptions and a transition period of 18 months. The exemptions and their duration were mainly based on the availability of alternative PFAS.
The proposal will now undergo evaluations by the ECHA scientific committees for Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Analysis. It will determine if it meets the legal requirements of REACH. If the proposal passes the evaluation, it will go through a six-month scientific evaluation. After that, a final rule will be issued. The regulation is expected to go into effect between 2026 and 2027.