8 Jul 2022

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are categories of synthetic chemicals with varied applications in different industries. These are basically carbon-fluorine bond chemicals and considered to be the strongest bonds. They are used in applications such as food processing, electronics, aviation, and medical devices due to their stable properties, such as being heat stable and repellent to water and oil.

The new trend is to replace long chain bonds with small chain bonds to reduce impact on human health and the environment since they are resistant to degradation.

The impact on human health and the environment can be from direct or indirect release of these chemicals through food (example: fish from PFAS contaminated waters), skin contact (use of cosmetics containing these harmful substances) and also through air contamination.

The impact of PFAS on Human health

  • Toxic for reproduction causing damage to foetus.
  • Carcinogenic
  • Endocrine disrupters

The impact of PFAS on Environment

  • Air-water contamination due to the presence of carbon and fluorine bonds.
  • Due to their resistance to degradation, they accumulate in the environment, contaminating ground water and air and causing toxic effects.
PFAS regulatory obligation

The use of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is already restricted under the Stockholm convention as well as under EU POP (persistent organic pollutants). Furthermore, perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) is being considered for global restrictions and elimination.

There are a number of PFAS compounds that are included in REACH SVHCs. Essentially, they affect the environment through drinking water and food contacts through meat products due to their persistence, mobility, and toxicity.

For more information about PFASs and the implications they have on your products, please contact one of our compliance experts.