To curb an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway jointly proposed a restriction proposal to ban over 10,000 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) commonly designated as “forever chemicals” under Article 68 of the REACH regulation.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) initiated a public consultation to allow stakeholders to voice concerns and submit derogation proposals for various PFAS uses. The ECHA received an unprecedented number of comments in response to the consultation, which primarily underscore that the industry did not yet have adequate time to identify the uses of PFAS across different industrial sectors. As the PFAS restriction process unfolds, stakeholders will be called upon to respond to ECHA’s Socio-Economic Assessment Committee Opinion. This will allow responders to address the socioeconomic rational of the proposal. These responses need to be meticulously justified, as per ECHA’s requirements, by providing evidence of the absence of viable alternatives and the potential socioeconomic impact arising from the lack of alternatives once the ban is in force.
While, according to the timelines outlined by REACH, the Commission’s draft opinion should be prepared by 2024, adhering strictly to these timelines is improbable. Therefore, if some form of restriction is approved, its implementation is more likely to occur around 2026.
This client alert provides a thorough review of the restriction proposal, the arguments received in response to the consultation and next steps.