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Persistent Pollutants

Chemours’s GenX chemical lands on EU list for potential regulation

by Cheryl Hogue
July 4, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 27

 

Chemours’s GenX chemical and related fluoroethers are now considered “substances of very high concern” in the European Union. The European Chemicals Agency says later this month it will add hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA) and related compounds including GenX, its ammonium salt, to a list of chemicals that are candidates for strict control. On June 27 a committee of EU member states designated the compounds as substances of very high concern under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) law. HFPO-DA and its related compounds have the potential to cause adverse health effects in humans and wildlife because of their persistence in the environment, mobility in water, potential to be transported long distances, and accumulation in plants, the committee says. It also cites the difficulty in removing them from water. In response, Chemours says that the designation “is not grounded in solid scientific evidence” and claims that HFPO-DA “is safe for its intended use and at the low levels found in the environment does not pose a risk to human health.”

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