May 23, 2023

EU restricts PFAS in consumer products

Several regulatory actions are being taken to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in consumer products in the EU. These toxic substances are also known as "forever chemicals" due to their high persistence. Without the ability to degrade, their concentration in the environment will continue to increase. Exposure to these substances can have negative effects on both humans and the environment.

PFASs are a group of about 10,000 mainly man-made substances used in numerous applications in the EU. These applications include textiles, food packaging, lubricants, refrigerants, electronics, construction and many more.

In the EU, some PFAS are already regulated under REACH and POP legislation (see Table 1) and the SVHC list, while other groups are being proposed for restrictions (see Table 2).

he current larger proposals for restriction (see Table 3) will cover a greater number of substances with specific exemptions and different dates of entry into force for specific uses.

PFAS are defined as any substance that contains at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3-) or methylene (-CF2-) carbon atom without any H/Cl/Br/I attached to it.

A substance that only contains the following structural elements is excluded from the scope of the proposed restriction: -CF3-X or X-CF2-X', where X = -OR or -NRR' and X' = methyl (-CH3), methylene (-CH2-), an aromatic group, a carbonyl group (-C(O)-), -OR'', -SR'' or –NR''R''', and where R/R'/R''/R''' is a hydrogen (-H), methyl (-CH3), methylene (-CH2-), an aromatic group or a carbonyl group (-C(O)-).

Please read full by Roberta Canciello, senior technical specialist, Retail Consumer Products team, UL Solutions


Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on persistent organic pollutants (recast) (Text with EEA relevance)Text with EEA relevance

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2021/1297 of 4 August 2021 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards perfluorocarboxylic acids containing 9 to 14 carbon atoms in the chain (C9-C14 PFCAs), their salts and C9-C14 PFCA-related substances

Persistent organic pollutants – perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)

Registry of restriction intentions until outcome