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EU-wide PFAS ban in firefighting foams warrented

ECHA’s Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) has approved its final judgment supporting a phased ban on the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. Over a period of thirty years, the restriction could reduce PFAS emissions into the environment by approximately 13,200 tonnes.

SEAC is of the opinion that the proposed restriction on the use of PFAS in firefighting foams as well as their formulation is the most appropriate EU-wide solution to address the identified dangers by weighing the socio-economic benefits. These findings are based on an opinion of the dangers that was approved by the Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) of the ECHA in March 2023.

SEAC suggested transition timelines that will be effective in the future.
1. Transition periods for Civilian shipping range from 3 to 5 years.
2. And shipping of portable fire extinguishers from 6 to 18 months.

These timelines are to ensure a smooth transition for non-fluorine alternates by the end of the transition time.

The European Commission asked the European Chemical Agency to develop the proposal for them. In February 2022, it was presented to the public for the very first time.

What’s next?

After the adoption of the SEAC view, the ECHA will prepare the combined opinion of both committees for publication and then send it, along with the restriction proposal, to the European Commission.

Following that, the Commission will consider restriction requirements. If this is the case, it will submit a proposal to modify the list of restrictions that is found in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation. The EU member states will vote on the proposal in the REACH Committee before the European Parliament and Council review it and decide whether to make it into legislation.