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Understanding the proposed PFAS regulations

PFAS and possible future restriction on supply of certain materials.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Following the proposal, submitted by five EU member states, to regulate fluorinated chemicals (PFAS) across Europe, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) published it's draft proposal for regulation in February 2023. The regulation covers fluorinated polymers including PTFE, and FKM and FFKM elastomers, all of which are used in multiple industries and are common in high performance seals. The ECHA proposal calls for PFAS to be banned as they are persistent environmental pollutants.

Ahead of the earliest enforcement date of 2025, ECHA is entering a six month consultation period with key stakeholders, including industry, to identify applications of PFAS which are considered socio-economically important, where their risk in use can be managed, and where no immediately available alternative technology exists. In this circumstance an extended time line for PFAS use could be granted beyond first enforcement.

Committed to improving safety and taking care of the environment, James Walker has been working with the European Sealing Association (ESA) in gauging the impact of proposed PFAS regulation, and to support a Socio-Economic Assessment for industries and applications where no technical alternative is thought to be available and therefore where a derogation for continued use should be allowed.

James Walker and the ESA would like downstream users, whose feedback is considered critical in presenting a valid case for derogation, to participate in the Socio-Economic Assessment. Ricardo PLC has been engaged by the ESA to prepare this assessment on behalf of the sealing industry. If fluorinated seals in your application are critical then it is important to work with us to provide feedback into the ESA survey. Please make contact with James Walker as soon as possible if you wish to contribute, or register directly for the ESA survey. The deadline for completion of the survey is now April 14th.

Whilst a decision on the proposed regulation, and the likely timelines for implementation is still being considered by the ECHA, James Walker is proactively looking at, and qualifying, alternative materials and working with its suppliers to ensure sealing materials are available that allow continued supply of product that will be compliant with any proposed regulations.

You can see a webinar presentation with Q&A session, which explains the company's understanding of the proposed regulations, by following the link below this article. The presentation takes around 20 minutes with a further 20 minute Q&A. Should you have additional questions after viewing the webinar then you can submit further enquiries to our PFAS Project Team by completing our online enquiry form.

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