Read the full article by Rebecca Trager (Royal Society of Chemistry)

“The European Chemicals Agency (Echa) has proposed an EU-wide ban on all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams, to prevent further groundwater and soil contamination. Based on a review of the environmental and health dangers posed by the use of these chemicals in firefighting foams, the agency announced on 23 February that restriction throughout Europe is justified because the risks posed by PFAS – a controversial class of persistent, highly mobile and potentially toxic compounds – are not adequately controlled.

The agency’s proposal would ban the sale, use and export of all PFAS in firefighting foams after use or specific transition periods that would allow time for industry to replace these foams without compromising fire safety. During the transition phase, companies still using PFAS-based foams would have to ensure that environmental release is minimised, and that expired foams and related waste are appropriately disposed of.

The restriction, if adopted, could reduce the release of PFAS into the environment by more than 1000 tonnes over 30 years, Echa estimates. The agency calculates the associated costs of the proposal at approximately €7 billion (£5.8 billion) over the same period, including the price of modifying equipment for using PFAS-free foams, cleaning equipment to remove residues, and the cost difference between PFAS and alternative foams.”…