Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

EU: European Union POPs draft updates of PFOA, PFOS, HBCDD, PCB and newly Listing PFHxS


After the 27th hybrid meeting of the Competent Authorities for EU Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regulation (EU) 2019/20211, several drafts2 amending Annex I of POPs are released. Amendments would be made to PFOA, PFOS, PCB, HBCDD and newly listed PFHxS as POPs. Once the drafts are finalized, the updates will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

EU POPs Regulation Annex I prohibits the manufacture, placing on the market and use of POPs in substances, mixtures and articles. The European Commission (EC) is empowered to adopt delegated acts in order to adapt scientific and technical progress. From the draft proposals, the following amendments would be made.

  • the specific exemptions of PFOA, PFOS, and HBCDD would be updated;
  • an Unintentional Trace Contaminant (UTC) limit of PCB is newly included. This provides clarity of the legal situation and would facilitate harmonised enforcement throughout the EU;
  • PFHxS would be newly introduced as an entry under Annex I. 

Table A lists the proposed amendments. 

Table A: Draft amendments of Annex I for PFHxS, PFOA, PFOS, PCB and HBCDD
Substances Types of Updates Details of the updates

Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts and PFHxS-related compounds

Introduction as a new entry

Limit in substances, mixtures and articles
PFHxS or any of its salts: < 25 ppb
PFHxS-related compounds: < 1000 ppb (sum);

PFHxS in firefighting foam mixtures that are to be used or are used in the production of other firefighting foam mixtures: 
< 100 ppb (effective 3 years after the date of entry into force)

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts and PFOA-related compounds

Amendment of exemptions

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) micropowders produced by ionising irradiation or by thermal degradation as well as in mixtures and articles for industrial and professional uses containing PTFE micropowders: 
    • Limit: < 0.025 mg/kg (1 mg/kg until 90 days after the date of entry into force);
  • The manufacture, placing on the market and use of PFOA and its salts where they are present in PTFE micropowders that are transported or treated for the purpose to reduce the concentration of PFOA and its salts below the limit of 0.025 mg/kg:
    • Limit: < 1 mg/kg;
  • The date of review for exemption in point 3 is modified from 5 July 2022 to 25 August 2023;
  • Removal of exemption in point 5 (e) for the use of PFOA, its salts and PFOA-related compounds in the manufacture of PTFE and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) for specific production.

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS)

Amendment of exemptions

  • Reduction of the limit from 10 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg for substances and mixtures;
  • Removal of the limits for semi-finished products or articles (0.1% by weight) and coated materials (1µg/m2). The limit value applicable to articles would be 1 mg/kg;
  • Removal of exemption for mist suppressant for non-decorative hard-chromium plating
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB)
Introduction of an UTC limit
Limit: < 10 mg/kg in substances, mixtures or articles
Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD)
Amendment of exemptions
  • Reduction of limit value from 100 mg/kg to 75 mg/kg for substances, mixtures and articles;
  • For the use of recycled polystyrene in the production of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation material for building applications, the limit value remains at 100 mg/kg. This exemption shall be reviewed and assessed by the EC by 1 January 2026.



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