Proposed PFAS ban could affect any exporter to the EU

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ECHA to discuss proposal on April 5

Companies exporting virtually any product to the European Union must know if their goods have PFAS and weigh in on the region’s new proposed phaseout of those chemicals, which could greatly affect many US companies, attorneys said. 

The proposed requirements could affect the production and distribution of chemicals, mixtures of chemicals, and manufactured products, said Lawrence Culleen, a partner with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP who specializes in chemical regulations. 

Affected business may need to reexamine the composition and design of thousands of products ranging from camping gear to more complex articles such as mobile phones, computers, automobiles, wind turbines, and more, Culleen said.

The restriction would have “enormous impact on any company doing business in or with the EU,” said John Gardella, who chairs CMBG3 Law LLC’s PFAS, Environmental, Risk Management & Consulting, and ESG practice groups.

A public meeting that ECHA will hold on April 5 to discuss its proposal “will be of critical importance” to US companies, Culleen said. ECHA is accepting public comments on its proposal for six months beginning March 22. More...

Source: Bloomerg Law 


Understanding PFASs

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a large class of thousands of synthetic chemicals that are used throughout society. However, they are increasingly detected as environmental pollutants and some are linked to negative effects on human health.

They all contain carbon-fluorine bonds, which are one of the strongest chemical bonds in organic chemistry. This means that they resist degradation when used and also in the environment. Most PFASs are also easily transported in the environment covering long distances away from the source of their release. 

PFASs have been frequently observed to contaminate groundwater, surface water and soil. Cleaning up polluted sites is technically difficult and costly. If releases continue, they will continue to accumulate in the environment, drinking water and food.