PFAS are often called "perpetual chemicals" because they do not break down completely in nature.
The substances – over 10,000 in number – are found in water, soil, air and in the food we eat.
They are stored in the body of both animals and humans.
There are already bans for some of the substances, such as PFOA, but now Sweden, together with Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, has put forward a proposal that in practice means a total ban in the EU.
The ban will apply to the production, use, sale and import of PFAS, but it may not be in place until 2026–2027.
- We are proposing a broad ban on all PFAS substances, and that includes more than 10,000 substances, says Jenny Ivarsson, project manager at the Chemicals Inspectorate, to SVT Nyheter.
- Now it is in the hands of the EU;
their scientific committees and the European Commission, and then the member states will vote on it.
The idea is that the ban should lead to companies finding alternatives to the substances.
For some products – such as ski wax, pizza boxes and make-up – there are already alternatives and a change must have taken place 18 months after the ban was introduced.
Few exceptions will be made
In other cases – for example medical implants such as pacemakers – you get longer, up to twelve years.
Only a few exceptions may be made.
- The exemptions do not apply to individual PFAS substances, but the exemptions apply to the use, says Per Ängquist, Director General of the Chemicals Inspectorate, to TT.
This concerns, for example, plant protection products and chemical or biological pesticides, which are covered by special legislation.
The proposal was submitted to the European Chemicals Agency in mid-January and became public on Tuesday.
In the spring, it will go out for consultation and a decision is expected to be made in 2025.
Why are the chemicals dangerous? Jenny Ivarsson talks about the risks in the clip.
Why are the chemicals dangerous?
Jenny Ivarsson talks about the risks in the clip.