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Persistent Pollutants

PFAS restriction plan developing in EU

by Cheryl Hogue
May 16, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 19

 

09819-polcon2-water.jpg
Credit: Shutterstock

Five countries are drawing up a proposal to restrict production and use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the European Union. In mid-May, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden announced that they want to tightly regulate PFAS under the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) law. PFAS, a category of synthetic chemicals designed to resist degradation, are increasingly being detected in drinking water supplies. The five countries say the proposal would limit human health and environmental risks from these compounds. The handful of PFAS that have undergone toxicity testing are linked to effects including cancer, high cholesterol, and thyroid-hormone disruption. The five countries plan to submit their proposal to the European Chemical Agency by 2022, and the agency says the plan could be finalized and take effect by 2025. The five countries are asking the public and companies that manufacture, use, or sell products with PFAS, and businesses that use PFAS alternatives, to provide information via a questionnaire to help in drafting the plan.

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