In February 2023, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published the draft proposal for an EU-wide restriction on the production and use of thousands of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), starting a much needed process to restrict these ‘forever chemicals’ used in all sorts of consumer products and found in water, food, homes and nearly all our bodies.  

The draft proposal was prepared by the national authorities from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The proposal will be followed by a six-month public consultation starting from 22 March 2023, in which stakeholders will be invited to give feedback. After this, ECHA’s committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) will analyse the proposal and release their final evaluations and opinions before the proposal passes on to the European Commission and EU member states for decision on the potential restriction.  

Several EDC-Free Europe campaign members have reacted to the publication of this draft proposal for an EU-wide restriction on the production and use of PFAS. Here are a few of them: 

PFAS, a family of over 4,700 widely-used synthetic chemicals, represent a serious risk to our health and the environment. They are also called “forever chemicals” because they can take up to 1,000 years to break down in the environment while some do not break down at all. Due to their widespread use and highly mobile nature, PFAS chemicals have been detected in water, air, soil, wildlife and people worldwide. 

Scientific studies have associated exposure to PFAS with severe adverse health problems, such as different types of cancer, liver damage, reduced birth weight, obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, immune dysfunction and hormone disruption. In a study published in 2019, the Nordic Council of Ministers estimates that the annual health costs related to exposure to PFAS range between 52 - 84 billion Euros for Europe alone. 

EDC-Free Europe members have long been calling for a complete phase out of these harmful forever chemicals. More than 118 civil society organisations, many of which EDC-Free Europe campaigners, endorsed the “Ban PFAS Manifesto” calling for an urgent phase out of these forever chemicals by 2025. 

Here is a list of resources from our EDC-Free Europe partners to find more about PFAS chemicals: