EU-wide PFAS ban in firefighting foams warranted
- The Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has given its approval to a phased ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. This ban has the potential to reduce PFAS emissions into the environment by approximately 13,200 tonnes over a span of 30 years.
- SEAC has determined that the proposed restriction on the marketing, use, and formulation of PFAS in firefighting foams is the most effective measure to address the identified risks across the European Union. This decision takes into account the available alternatives and the balance between the benefits and societal costs associated with the restriction. These conclusions are based on an assessment of the risks conducted by ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) in March 2023.
- In order to ensure safety in areas where fires could have serious consequences for the environment and human health, SEAC advises conducting a thorough evaluation of fluorine-free alternatives for facilities involved in the production, treatment, or storage of hazardous substances (as outlined in the Seveso Directive) as well as neighboring sites. This evaluation should be completed before the end of the 10-year transition period.
- Additionally, SEAC suggests extending the transition period from five to 10 years for offshore installations in the oil and gas industry, and conducting a similar review of fluorine-free alternatives for these sites. SEAC considers these reviews to be essential for maintaining safety standards.
New EU chemicals enforcement project to focus on products sold online
- The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recently released an article announcing the initiation of a new project called REACH-EN-FORCE (REF)-13. This project, led by ECHA’s Enforcement Forum, aims to guarantee that products available for purchase online adhere to the restrictions outlined by REACH and the requirements of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. The project will specifically target items such as toys, common household goods, and chemicals that are sold online. Inspections under this project are scheduled to occur in the year 2025.
- In the context of non-compliance, the online sale of chemicals has emerged as a significant concern. Specifically, in a previous Forum project (REF-8), inspectors frequently encountered instances where mixtures and articles sold online contained hazardous substances that are restricted due to their potential to cause cancer. The project revealed a staggering statistic, indicating that 78% of controlled mixtures or articles failed to meet the conditions outlined in the REACH restrictions.
- How will the implementation of the Digital Services Act and General Product Safety Regulation impact the upcoming project in terms of strengthening enforcement measures for inspectors in online sales?
- The Biocidal Products Regulation (BPRS) subgroup of the Forum has reached a consensus that the upcoming major enforcement project on biocides (BEF-3) will primarily concentrate on ensuring the accuracy of product labels for biocidal products. During inspections, inspectors will verify if the information provided on the labels of biocides aligns with the authorized information included in the Summary of Product Characteristics. Additionally, inspectors may also assess the presence and accuracy of information in the Safety Data Sheets, specifically for biocidal products where it is mandatory.
- In order to obtain a thorough and accurate response, please provide detailed information regarding the preparations, inspections, and publication timelines for both the REF-13 and BEF-3 projects. Specifically, please include the specific activities planned for 2024, the proposed schedule for inspections in 2025, and the expected timeline for publishing reports in 2026.