PFAS: Public consultations open on proposed PFAS restrictions in the EU and US
A public consultation has opened today in the EU on a new proposed restriction under the REACH Regulation on the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Given the scope of the proposals and the widespread use of PFAS across industry, the restriction will have impacts for most businesses. In related news, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed its first-ever restrictions on six PFAS in drinking water and a public consultation on these proposals will follow.
Companies should take full advantage of the public consultations to have their say.
EU PFAS restriction under REACH
Our recent advisory highlighted the key headlines of the proposed restriction, aimed at reducing the risks that PFAS pose to humans and the environment, which was published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in February.
If passed in its current form, the restriction proposal would mark the biggest single ban on chemicals ever in the European Union (EU). It has a very broad scope, covering over 10,000 chemicals and any use not specifically excluded. Given the widespread use of PFAS, this far-ranging restriction will have impacts for many sectors and businesses. It will require industry to assess millions of products, constituents and components working across all stages of the supply chain. For this reason, it is essential industry is prepared and ready to engage in the next step of the process.
ECHA will now collect comments on the restriction from interested parties during a 6-month public consultation. TSG’s experts are helping companies across multiple sectors carefully evaluate the impact of the proposals and submit information to the public consultation that is meaningful and impactful.
Responses to the public consultation will be considered by ECHA’s scientific committees as they prepare their own opinions on the proposals. To have the maximum impact, comments submitted to the public consultation will need to be well-reasoned, focused and evidence-based, to assist ECHA and its committees in their analysis and understanding.
Not sure how the PFAS restriction will affect your business? Need help to prepare a response to the public consultation?
TSG Consulting will help you evaluate the implications of the proposals across your business and supply chain. That means helping to frame a realistic timeframe to replace PFAS and evaluate the health, environmental and economic impacts of substitution and/or the inability to substitute. We will use this to build and submit a robust response to the consultation in the short available window.
ECHA’s consultation will run over 6 months from 22 March to 21 September 2023.
EPA restriction on PFAS in drinking water
On 14 March 2023, the US EPA announced its proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS. The substances targeted are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).
If passed, the proposals will establish legally enforceable levels (called Maximum Contaminant Levels or MCLs) for the six PFAS in drinking water. The proposed concentration levels are in the order of four nanograms/litre (also expressed as parts per trillion), over 100 times lower than the 500 nanograms/litre (0.5 µg/l) limit under the Drinking Water Directive in the EU. Health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) are also being suggested for these six PFAS. Together, this is expected to have major impacts for water companies and industry in the US if states look to those using PFAS themselves to help foot the bill.
EPA anticipates “finalizing the regulation by the end of 2023. EPA expects that if fully implemented, the rule will prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses”. Policy makers around the world will be paying keen attention to this development.
The proposals would also require public water systems to monitor drinking water for these PFAS, notify the public of the levels of these PFAS and take action to reduce the levels of these PFAS in drinking water if they exceed the proposed standards.
The EPA aims to implement its restriction by the end of 2023 and will soon launch a public consultation on the proposals, which will open following the proposed rule publishing in the Federal Register.
We can help you assess the potential impact of the proposals to your business and prepare and submit a robust response when the consultation opens.
Make sure your voice is heard
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