The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has published the broadest restriction proposal on PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals.
Without a restriction, the amount of PFASs could increase to harmful levels. The government thinks that around 4.4 million tons of PFASs will be released into the environment in the next 30 years unless measures are implemented. PFAs are used across multiple sectors not only in industrial processes but also in everyday consumer products like non stick cookwear or cosmetics. PFAs are also used in the heating sector and thus, these restrictions will have a strong impact on the use of HFOs as a refrigerant in heat pumps.
To find out more about the use of HFOs in heat pumps you can check out the discussion during the TRI-HP project final event. TRI-HP is an EU-funded research and innovation project that develops affordable and efficient trigeneration systems based on natural refrigerant heat pumps for multi-family residential buildings, with a much lower global warming potential.
What are the next steps?
In March 2023, ECHA's Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) committees will review the proposal to ensure it complies with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation). If the proposal meets the requirements, a six-month consultation is scheduled to begin on March 22, 2023.
The RAC committee will assess whether the proposed restriction effectively reduces risks to health and the environment. Meanwhile, the SEAC committee will evaluate the proposal's socio-economic impacts, such as the benefits and costs to society.
Once the committees form their opinions, the European Commission and EU Member States will decide whether to implement the proposed restriction.
An online information session on the restriction process will be held on April 5, 2023, to assist those interested in participating in the consultation.