Market & Industry

PFAS ban: Economics ministers call for return to risk-based approach

The industry association Spectaris welcomes the decision of the Conference of Economics Ministers not to abandon a risk-based approach to the planned PFAS ban and to consider a classification as "substances of low concern" for fluoropolymers, for example.

The Ministers of Economics of the Länder call on the Federal Ministry of Economics to act now and ensure that the current PFAS consultation deadlines are extended to allow for informed input. Also, the transition periods of the proposed restrictions should allow for a timely switch to alternatives, including necessary approvals. A blanket classification of all PFAS compounds as "substances of low concern" is rejected, as is a blanket ban on all PFAS compounds. The term "closed-loop use" also needs a uniform understanding and clear criteria. It is important to define under which conditions and in which industrial processes such use is appropriate.

Spectaris Managing Director Jörg Mayer emphasises: "Many industrial products and applications that have to withstand extreme conditions or are manufactured under such conditions would no longer be possible with a blanket ban. The fact that these are indiscriminately and presumably unintentionally covered by a blanket ban is a unique departure from the principle of proportionality, which was always upheld in previous substance bans. Therefore, it is good that the Ministers of Economics of the federal states also clearly state this elementary problem in their decision."

From the association's point of view, however, an extension of the consultation period, as demanded by the Conference of Economics Ministers, is not a conclusive solution, because the uses and supply chains are so complex that the data situation remains uncertain even beyond that. Rather, for essential applications, free spaces must be created that will also enable technological progress in the future and within the framework of environmental regulations.