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EU: Draft of C9-C14 PFCAs Restriction Reached Final Stage

AUGUST 2020 – RELEVANT FOR: ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, SOFTLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

On 3 August 2020, the European Union (EU) notified the World Trade Organization (WTO)1 about the draft amendment of REACH Annex XVII for C9-C14 PFCAs, their salts and related substances. It is foreseeable that this proposal may be published in the first quarter of 2021 and there may be an 18-month transition period for this new restriction. 

C9-C14 PFCAs2 are regarded as PBT or vPvB substances. These were found as unavoidable by-products during the production of PFAS with carbon chain less than 9 carbon atoms and they are potentially used as substitutes for PFOA. A variety of commercial applications uses of PFAS for example, water, oil and grease repellent treatments for carpets, furniture and clothing. It can be found in teflon products, semiconductors and fire-fighting foam. Germany and Sweden proposed this restriction back to 2017 and certain C9-C14 PFCAs are already listed on the Candidate List. They are PFNA, PFDA, PFUnDA, PFDoDA, PFTrDA, PFTDA. 

It is worth to note that PFOA is currently listed on EU POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Regulation. The European Commission would like to replace the entry 68, PFOA by this new restriction. This draft proposal also stated if the substances having the potential to degraded or transformed to C9-C14 PFCAs are also considered as C9-C14 PFCAs related substances. The highlight of the proposal can be found in Table A.

Table A. Proposed restriction on C9-C14 PFCAs, their salts and related substances (contents in blue are newly added or modified in the WTO notification3

 

Parameters 
Proposed scope of restriction  
Highlights
Proposed scope of restriction   Substances, mixtures and articles
Note: Substances have the potential to degraded or transformed to C9-C14 PFCAs are considered as C9-C14 PFCAs related substances.
Proposed limit


[Effective After 18 months from entry into force]

  • Substances: Not used (Not detected)
  • As constituents in other substances, mixtures, articles or any parts: 
  1. Sum of C9-C14 PFCAs and their salts: ≤ 25 ppb; or
  2. Sum of C9-C14 PFCAs -related substances: ≤ 260 ppb

[Effective until 36 months from entry into force]

  • PTFE fine powders, fluoroelastomers and aqueous dispersions ≤ 2000 ppb (Note: this requirement does not apply to articles and the limit will be reduced to ≤ 400 ppb after 36 months from entry into force)

A longer transition period may be granted to certain industry and professional application e.g. fire-fighting foam, photographic coatings and semiconductors. that can apply from 2023 or even 2025. Details can be referred to paragraph 4 and 5 of the draft Annex.

Proposed exemption
  • The manufacture of a substance where this occurs as an unavoidable by-product of the manufacture of fluorochemicals with a carbon chain equal to or shorter than 6 atoms; 
  • A substance that is to be used, or is used as a transported isolated intermediate
  • Articles placed on the before the date of application (i.e. 18 months from the date of entry into force
  • The can coating for pressurised metered-dose inhalers until 7 years after the entry into force of the restriction.

Note: two more exemptions are under consideration to allow the fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers productions.

Abbreviation

PFAS: perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances
PFCAs: perfluorocarboxylic acids containing 9 to 14 carbon atoms in the chain
PFOA: perfluorooctanoic acid
PFNA: perfluorononan-1-oic acid (C9-PFCA)
PFDA: nonadecafluorodecanoic acid (C10-PFCA)
PFUnDA:  henicosafluoroundecanoic acid (C11-PFCA)
PFDoDA: tricosafluorododecanoic acid (C12-PFCA) 
PFTrDA: pentacosafluorotridecanoic acid (C13-PFCA)
PFTDA: heptacosafluorotetradecanoic acid (C14-PFCA) 
PBT: persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances
vPvB: very persistent and very bioaccumulative

[1] WTO Notification of C9-C14 PFCAs from the European Union

[2] Draft legal text of REACH amendment

[3] Annex to the draft legal of REACH amendment

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