In an public session of the Environment Council of the European Union (EU), the Netherlands informed of their intention to draft a REACH restriction proposal on non-essential uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and Sweden announced the intention to create an EU PFAS action plan. Regulatory news provider Chemical Watch has reported that Denmark, Luxembourg, and Norway then supported Sweden and the Netherlands in sending a letter on December 17, 2019 to the EU Commission’s vice-president and EU Commissioners calling for creation of a “coherent and coordinated” action plan that allows only essential uses of PFAS and for the substances to be managed as a group. The countries argued that the EU cannot keep using the “current inefficient substance-by-substance assessment” approach. Sweden commented during the session that “we must manage [PFAS] as a group, not the least to avoid regrettable substitution.”

Responding to the proposals made by these governments, the European Commission recognized the concerns and said during the session that current restriction of some PFAS under the Stockholm Convention “is not enough” and that the “alternatives developed so far belong to the same group of substances and are consequently of concern.” The Commission referred to recent and ongoing investigations into certain PFAS uses and said that “uses that do not provide net social benefits should be restricted” and that the Commission’s “new chemical strategy for sustainability will address PFAS in a more holistic way.”

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European Council (December 19, 2019). “Environment Council: public session.”

Council of the European Union (December 11, 2019). “EU action to address risks related to PFAS – Information from the Danish, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Swedish delegations.” (pdf)

Luke Buxton (December 20, 2020). “Environment ministers urge EU to phase out all PFASs by 2030.” Chemical Watch

ChemSec (December 19, 2019). “The Netherlands has had enough – wants to restrict all PFAS.”

Sharon Lerner (December 19, 2019). “European Countries Announce Plan to Phase Out Toxic PFAS Chemicals by 2030.” The Intercept

Rebecca Trager (January 14, 2020). “Europe sets its sights on non-stick and stain-resistant perfluorinated chemicals.” Chemistry World