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EU: REACH Annex XVII restriction on PFHxS was proposed

JUNE 2019 - Relevant for: Electrical & electronics, Hardlines, Softlines, Toys and children's products

On 19 June 2019, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launched the 1st public consultation on the proposal to restrict perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts and PFHxS-related substances.

PFHxS belongs to the group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). It is the shortest of the long-chain perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids. It is similar to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). As a member of the PFAS family of substances, PFHxS is very resistant to chemical, thermal and biological degradation. PFHxS and its salts was identified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) and included in SVHC Candidate List in July 2017.

PFHxS has been used in textiles because of its water and oil repellence properties and used in fire-fighting foams. Currently, it may still be present as an impurity of PFOS. This proposed restriction aims to avoid the possibility that PFHxS is used as a regrettable substitute when REACH Annex XVII entry 68 (Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) becomes effective in 2020 and to reduce the environmental emissions of the substances present in articles and mixtures imported to the European Union (EU).

All interested parties can comment on the proposal using the ECHA website until the end of the consultation period by 19 December 2019. The final opinion of ECHA is expected to be available by June 2020 and will be submitted to the European Commission (EC), which will decide whether to include this proposed restriction in REACH Annex XVII.

Table A. Proposed restriction on PFHxS, its salts and PFHxS-related substances

Proposed scope of the restriction

Substances, mixtures and articles

Proposed limit

- Substances: Not used (Not detected)
- As constituents of other substances, as a component of mixtures, articles:
a) Sum of PFHxS or its salts: < 25 ppb;
b) Sum of PFHxS-related substances: < 1000 ppb

Proposed exemption

-  Substances or mixtures containing PFHxS as an impurity in PFOS in applications of PFOS which are derogated from the prohibitions in POPs Regulation (EC) No 850/2004; 
- Concentrated fire-fighting foam mixtures that were placed on the market before the applicate date (i.e. 18 months after the entry into force of this Regulation) and are to be used, or are used in the in the production of other fire-fighting foam mixtures.

Proposed application date

18 months after the date of entry into force

[1] Public consultation on PFHxS

[2] Report submitted for the restriction proposal

[3] Information note on public consultation

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