‘Forever chemical’ to be named as SVHC

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is to declare highly persistent perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its salts (PFBS) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under REACH, putting it in line for further regulatory measures.

The compound, one of many in the perfluoralkyl substance (PFAS) family, has been used as a stain resistant coating for textiles and other products. It replaced the use of the similar perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), which has been banned under the Stockholm Convention since 2009 and regulated as a persistent organic pollutant in the EU. PFBS also has uses as a flame retardant, in metal plating and as a pesticide.

ECHA’s Member State Committee considered a Norwegian proposal on the so-called ‘forever chemical’ on 9-11 December, reaching unanimous agreement that it should be an SVHC. Under article 59(8) of REACH, this means that it will be declared formally within 30 days.

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