ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) supports the proposed restriction on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. The draft opinion of the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) is open for consultation until 15 May.
RAC has adopted its opinion on the proposal to restrict the marketing authorisation, use and formulation of all PFAS in firefighting foams, after sector-specific transition periods.
With 470 tonnes of PFAS released into the environment every year, the committee came to a close that there is an EU-wide risk for people and the environment from their use in firefighting foams. The proposed restriction would effectively decrease emissions and the associated risks caused by these persistent substances. The committee’s concerns are based on the ‘very persistent’ property combined with others, such as ‘mobility’.
ECHA’s Enforcement Forum agreed to run a pilot project to check for the presence of restricted perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) and related substances in consumer products such as cosmetics.
Inspections in this pilot project starts in 2023 and continue throughout 12 participating countries during 2024. The goal is to protect consumers from being exposed to PFCAs and related substances, as well as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which have been highlighted as substances of very high concern due to their hazardous properties.
The project will also bring awareness about the restrictions under the REACH and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) regulations among companies that sell cosmetics and other consumer products. It was triggered by cases of PFOA, the use of which is restricted under the POPs Regulation, found in cosmetics sold on the EU market.
Inspectors can enforce restrictions under the REACH or POPs Regulation, as applicable. Where breaches are detected, inspectors will take enforcement measures to guarantee compliance with the applicable legislation. The project report should be published at the end of 2024.
PFOA and related substances are outlawed in the EU market under the POPs Regulation. Cosmetics are not excluded from this prohibition. REACH also restricts the use of PFCAs as substances on their own as well as in mixtures and articles. Furthermore, REACH specifically outlaws the use of certain substances that are toxic to aquatic life in wash off cosmetics.
On March 31, It was published in the Official Journal on “Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/707 of 19 December 2022 amending Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 as regards the criteria and hazard classes for the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures”.
The Regulation, which amends Annexes I, II, III and VI of the CLP, introduces the following new hazard classes, with relevant H and P phrases and classification criteria for substances and mixtures:
– Endocrine interference for human health
– Interference with the endocrine system for the environment
– Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic or very persistent and very bioaccumulative properties
– Persistent, mobile and toxic or very persistent and very mobile properties
For all hazard classes, the Regulation provides the following dates of application:
– Substances: are classified by 1 May 2025 at the latest; however, substances placed on the market before 1 May 2025 shall not be classified until 1 November 2026.
– Mixtures: they are classified by 1 May 2026 at the latest; however, mixtures placed on the market before 1 May 2026 are not subject to classification until 1 May 2028.