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Berlin split over EU 'forever chemicals' ban

Back in January, the environment agencies of five countries – Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, and non-EU member Norway – proposed an EU-wide ban on over 10,000 hazardous per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), nicknamed “forever chemicals” due to the long time they take to break down. The German environment minister Steffi Lemke endorsed the ban proposal.

Without surprise, various German industries are warning against a total ban. More surprisingly is the German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck’s position against a total ban, which goes against German environment minister Steffi Lemke’s position. Mr Habeck stresses that PFAS play a key role in “technologies of the future,” such as semiconductors, electrolysers, and electric engines, many of which are key for the green and digital transitions. “Here, PFAS cannot simply be replaced, and here we must not prevent the development of technologies by over-regulating them,” he said.


The proposed restriction on PFAS is set to be one of the largest ever on chemical substances in the EU. To seek input ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency has launched a consultation to get information from the industry and other stakeholders:

ECHA PFAS ban consultation - deadline 25 September 2023

Go to time 53 min 27 sec to learn about how to participate in the consultation!