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Directive 2006/122/Ec - Tighter Restrictions on the Marketing And Use of Perfluorooctane Sulfonates

The European Union (EU) is to clamp down on the use of PerFluoroOctane Sulfonates (PFOS) as the result of a European Parliament plenary vote on the last update of the EU’s dangerous substances directive (76/769/EEC), before it is incorporated in the new Regulation on chemicals (REACH).
The Directive would not be total, outlawing PFOS as a substance or constituent of preparations in concentrations above 0.005% (50 ppm), in semifinished products or articles at a level above 0.1%(1000 ppm) or in textiles or coated materials at 1μg/m2. Certain exemptions for essential small scale uses, where there is no unacceptable risk, are only allowed to contain PFOS in larger quantities. Member States will have 18 months to enact the directive in national law (i.e., June, 27th 2008). Within REACH, PFOS will be a prime candidate for a chemical that needs to be authorized before it should be used, as would all the known persistent organic pollutants.
Hazardous Effects of PFOS PFOS, members of perfluorinated chemical, are very heat stable, extremely resistant to being broken down in the environment and can repel both water and oil. Another commonly encountered perfluorinated chemical would be PerFluoroOctanoic Acid (PFOA) and its salts. There is evidence to suggest that exposure to perfluorinated chemicals including PFOS and PFOA may cause birth defects, adversely affect the immune system and disrupt thyroid function, which during pregnancy, can lead to many developmental problems.
Applications for PFOS PFOS are anions that were used to be commercially available in the form of salts or other derivatives including polymers. PFOS-related chemicals are used in a variety of products which can be divided into three main categories of use.
Surface Treatment Applications Paper Protection Applications Performance Chemical Category

Worldwide Restrictions of PFOS Since 2000, the US EPA has imposed a ban of PFOS, with exemptions for special uses in the aviation, photography and microelectronic industries

In 2006, the Canadian federal government announced that PFOS, its salts and precursors will be added to the list of toxic substances which can be subjected to regulations, pollution prevention planning, or the development of a program for virtual elimination

In Australia, PFOS-related chemicals are restricted to only essential uses, for which no suitable and less hazardous alternatives are available

In 2005, Sweden proposed a global ban on PFOS and its related substances under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Another Perfluorinated Chemical of Concern – PFOA Likewise, the European Parliament has dropped demands for EU restrictions on PFOA and its salts which are also suspected have a similar risk profile as PFOS. The European Commission has been asked to keep under review the ongoing risk activities and the availability of safer alternatives and to define what kind of risk reduction measures, including restriction of marketing and use, if appropriate, should be applied within the EU. Given that PFOA has been well-documented to cause liver, pancreatic and testicular cancer in animal, a coalition
of environmental and labor groups has sought to expedite consideration of PFOA as a California’s Proposition 65 listed carcinogen.
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