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Yesterday Member state’s representatives voted in the REACH Committee to restrict PFHxA – a subfamily of the “forever chemicals” PFAS – that is widely used in for example clothing and food contact materials. Health groups and environmental organisations welcome the advancement of the restriction but regret that the scope was narrowed down compared to the initial proposal. 

The restriction initially proposed by Germany, which NGOs welcomed, was followed-up by the Commission with a version that unfortunately excluded industrial uses of the substance from the restriction.

Sandra Jen the Programme Lead on Health and Chemicals at HEAL: “The PFHxA restriction is much needed, as the use in food contact materials and clothing results in a direct exposure of people, not to mention the chemical leaching to the environment from landfills. PFAS can have serious impact on people’s health, and the huge amount of this pollution requires regulatory action immediately.  We commend the Commission and member states for taking a step towards protective measures against certain types of exposure, whilst keeping in mind the dire need to progress on the proposed overarching EU PFAS restriction. 

PFAS are widely used in consumer products from cosmetics to clothes, and most of us are exposed to them daily e.g. in our drinking water. They have been associated with a myriad of adverse health effects ranging from hormone and development disruption to cancer. It is estimated over 17,000 sites are contaminated by PFAS in Europe. HEAL has shed light on concerned communities taking action against PFAS pollution in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Belgium.

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