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Today, the EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published the draft proposal for an EU-wide restriction on the production and uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) [1], starting a much needed process to restrict these ‘forever chemicals’ found in water, food, homes, and nearly all our bodies. Under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, the European Commission committed to phase out the use of PFAS, unless their use is essential – a commitment that should be turned into action through the development of this restriction, initiated by the national authorities from Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden [2]. 

HEAL welcomes the comprehensive EU-wide approach to cut PFAS emissions at the source, which is long overdue. Now member states have to work together towards a highly protective restriction that is as broad as possible in terms of PFAS coverage and uses,” Natacha Cingotti, Health and Chemicals Programme Lead at HEAL urges.

HEAL is one of the co-initiators of the civil society Ban PFAS manifesto, which has been endorsed by over 100 groups worldwide and demands a full ban on PFAS in consumer products by 2025 and in all uses by 2030 [3]. The manifesto will be handed to the European Commission in March.

Over the next months, civil society groups will monitor the development of the restriction, and advocate to make it a comprehensive and enforceable tool for health and environmental protection against the global challenge that PFAS constitute. HEAL will also continue to call on national authorities to prioritise clean up and remediation initiatives in contaminated areas, hold polluters legally and financially accountable, and guarantee adequate health follow-up for local communities.


Exposure to PFAS, a family of more than 4,700 widely-used synthetic chemicals, is a threat to our health and the environment. Increasing scientific evidence has linked exposure to PFAS to a number of serious health impacts such as different types of cancer, thyroid disease, immune dysfunction and hormone disruption [4].

Due to ever-increasing production and release, PFAS have accumulated in the environment over decades and they have been found everywhere, from rainwater, organic eggs to breastmilk [5,6,7].

In January, France released the country’s first action on PFAS, acknowledging the urgent need to reduce production [8].

Next steps: 

In March 2023 ECHA’s scientific committees for Risk Assessment and for Socio-Economic Analysis will assess whether the proposal meets legal requirements of REACH and proceed with their evaluation. This process can take more than a year before being passed on to the European Commission for final agreement together with member states.


Nea Pakarinen, Senior Communications Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL),

HEAL will provide further in-depth analysis on the proposed restriction in due course, follow our updates on

  1. ECHA publishes PFAS restriction proposal, February 2023
  2. ECHA receives PFASs restriction proposal from five national authorities, January 2023
  3. Ban PFAS manifesto
  4. See for example Ban PFAS manifestoTHE INVISIBLE POISON presentation at the 2019 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Second national Conference, HEAL Page: The “forever chemicals” that are harming our health: PFAS and HEAL News: Civil society groups call on Belgian federal government’s involvement to guarantee action to clean up and remediate PFAS pollution around Antwerp, monitor consequences, and guarantee accountability.
  5. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Breast Milk: Concerning Trends for Current-Use PFAS, Guomao Zheng, Erika Schreder, Jennifer C. Dempsey, Nancy Uding, Valerie Chu, Gabriel Andres, Sheela Sathyanarayana, and Amina Salamova, Environmental Science & Technology 2021
  6. PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark, Danish National Food Institute, January 2023
  7. Outside the Safe Operating Space of a New Planetary Boundary for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), Ian T. Cousins, Jana H. Johansson, Matthew E. Salter, Bo Sha, and Martin Scheringer, Environmental Science & Technology 2022
  8.  Plan d’actions ministériel sur les PFAS, January 2023
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