The final judgment in favor of a progressive ban on per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams has been endorsed by ECHA's Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC). Over 30 years, the ban might cut PFAS emissions into the environment approximately by 13,200 tons.

The most effective EU-wide action to address the highlighted dangers, in SEAC's opinion, is the proposed limitation on the use, formulation, and marketing of PFAS in firefighting foams. This weighs the benefits and costs of the restriction to society, as well as any possible alternatives.

However, SEAC recommends that an evaluation of the fluorine-free options for facilities that manufacture, treat, or store hazardous materials (as defined by the Seveso Directive) and those nearby be done before the 10-year transition period is over. The oil and gas industry's offshore installations, where SEAC is used, would also require a review.

Additionally, SEAC suggests extending the transition periods for some portable fire extinguisher types from the market for six to 18 months and for applications in civilian vessels from three to five years. This is done to make sure that when the transition periods are through, there will be technically viable fluorine-free alternatives accessible.

The proposal was created by ECHA at the European Commission's request. It was initially introduced in February 2022. When SEAC's view is approved, ECHA prepares the combined opinion of the two committees for publication and submits it to the European Commission together with the limitation request.

After that, the Commission will determine whether a limitation is required. If so, a proposal to change the list of limitations (Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation) would be made. Before becoming legislation, the proposal will be put to a vote by the EU Member States in the REACH Committee and examined by the European Parliament and Council.


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