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Persistent Pollutants

EU considering PFBS, in the PFAS group of chemicals, as a candidate for strict regulation

by Cheryl Hogue
September 6, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 35

 

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The European Union is weighing whether to put a perfluorinated sulfonic acid on the pathway for tight regulation. 3M introduced the chemical, perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), to replace surfactants based on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, which the company phased out of production nearly 2 decades ago. Norway has now nominated PFBS to be classified as a substance of very high concern under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals law. Substances placed in this category are candidates for regulation that requires the European Chemicals Agency to authorize use of the chemicals. PFBS is an environmentally persistent chemical that has been detected in drinking water and linked to developmental, reproductive, thyroid, and kidney problems in laboratory animals. Some other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) also break down into PFBS. “PFBS has a very high potential to cause widespread effects in wildlife and in humans exposed via environment, due to its persistence, mobility, potential for long-range transport,” Norway’s proposal says. In related news, Denmark is proposing the first countrywide ban on PFAS used to make cardboard and paper food contact materials resistant to grease or water.

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