On February 17, 2021, a research team led by Simona Bălan from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) published a commentary article in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives on regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a single class as proposed under the California Safer Consumer Products Program.

In 2015, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) identified over 3,000 PFAS on the global market. Regulating only a subset of PFAS has led often to replacement with other PFAS subgroups with altered chemical structures, bearing similar hazards. Thus, previous research had presented arguments for managing all PFAS as a single chemical class (FPF reported).

In the commentary article, Bălan and colleagues present the measures and rationales taken up by the State’s DTSC for regulating PFAS as a class in certain consumer products. The authors point out that “there is no legal precedent in any jurisdiction” for this approach. They chose an approach based on the environmental persistence of PFAS under the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) framework. According to the DTSC’s Candidate Chemicals list, PFAS are defined as all fluorinated aliphatic substances that contain the moiety CnF2n+1.

The authors conclude that the presented technical position may be helpful to other regulatory agencies intending to address PFAS as well as facilitate regulation of other complex classes of compounds of concern such as microplastics.

Read More

Bălan, S. et al. (February 17, 2021). “Regulating PFAS as a Chemical Class under the California Safer Consumer Products Program.” Environmental Health Perspectives