ECHA publishes PFAS restriction proposal

09 February 2023

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, published a restriction proposal on PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as ‘forever chemicals’). The proposal was prepared by authorities in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden and is aimed at reducing PFAS release into the environment and enhance the safety of products and processes for individuals.

The PFASs covered by the proposal exhibit exceptional persistence in the environment. Without proper mitigation of their emissions, humans, flora, and fauna will experience heightened exposure, potentially leading to negative health consequences for people and harm to the environment. The authorities predict that without intervention approximately 4.4 million tons of PFASs could enter the environment over the next three decades.

In March 2023, ECHA’s scientific committees, the Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC), will assess whether the PFAS restriction proposal complies with the regulations set forth by REACH. If it meets the requirements, the committees will commence their scientific evaluation of the proposal. A public consultation period of six months is scheduled to begin on March 22, 2023.

The RAC will provide an opinion on the effectiveness of the proposed restriction in reducing risks to human health and the environment, while the SEAC will address the proposal’s socio-economic impact, including its benefits and costs to society. Both committees will form their opinions based on the information presented in the restriction proposal and feedback received during the consultation process. They will also consider guidance from the Enforcement Forum on the enforceability of the proposed restriction. Upon adopting their opinions, the committees will forward them to the European Commission for a decision on the potential restriction, in conjunction with the EU Member States.

An online information session will be held on April 5, 2023, to provide an overview of the restriction process and to assist individuals interested in participating in the consultation.