In order to prevent further groundwater and soil contamination and health risks for people, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed an EU-wide restriction on all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in firefighting foams. At the request of the European Commission, ECHA investigated the environmental and health risks posed by the use of PFASs in firefighting foams, and after the enquiry, they concluded that an EU-wide restriction is justified as the PFASs risks are currently not adequately controlled and releases should be minimised.
All PFASs, or their breakdown products, have been found to harm human health or the environment. The proposed option by ECHA aims at banning the placing on the market, use and export of all PFASs in firefighting foams after use or sector-specific transition periods, to control their associated risks. If adopted, the restriction could reduce emissions of PFASs into the environment by more than 13 000 tonnes over 30 years. Additionally, five European countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway) are working on a restriction proposal covering all PFASs in other uses, to be submitted to ECHA in January 2023.
A six-month consultation will be now performed by ECHA Scientific Committees for Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Analysis, to assess the proposed restriction options. The European Commission will take a decision on the restriction of PFASs in firefighting foam in 2023, based on this assessment.
You can read the ECHA proposal here.