Several European States Commit to Preparing Joint REACH Restriction Proposal to Limit PFAS Risks
The governmental authorities of five European States recently made a joint commitment to develop a new REACH restriction proposal. This was done with the goal of trying to help limit the risks posed by PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to human health and the environment. In this blog post, we take a look at PFAS and review the general restriction process involved.
PFAS are synthetic chemical compounds characterized by the presence of strong carbon-fluorine bonds. Because of this, these substances are highly resistant to degradation and, as a result, tend to persist in the environment. PFAS are used extensively in many different industries, such as automotive, construction, defense, and more. Because of their wide use and their environmental persistence, human exposure is common.
PFAS can present a variety of risks to human health. While research continues to be conducted to better understand the full spectrum of health effects posed by these substances, a number of studies of humans exposed to PFAS have indicated that these chemicals may result in:
- a compromising of the body's immune system
- a disruption of the body's hormonal levels
- an increased cancer risk
Process of Restriction
Under REACH, the goal of restriction is geared toward protecting against the risks of dangerous chemicals. This entails a multi-phase process:
Phase I – Restriction Proposal Preparation and Submission
Phase IIa – Public Consultation
Phase IIb – Opinion Development
Phase III – Decision and Follow Up
Additional detailed information on the REACH restriction process, including the various steps involved in each phase, may be found on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website.
Proposal Preparation for Limiting PFAS Risks
Relevant authorities in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden have made a mutual commitment to develop a REACH restriction proposal to facilitate PFAS risk limitation. In line with this preparation, a call for evidence is being initiated allowing the public to submit information on PFAS and their use until July 31, 2020. Following the call for evidence, preparation of the proposal itself will take place during the next two years. After subsequent opinion development by the ECHA's Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC), a final decision will eventually be made by the European Commission.
Accessing Additional Information
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