The EU Commission has set a limit of 0.025 mg/kg for perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and its salts in mixtures of substances and articles, publishing Regulation 2023/1608 that amends Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 (POP Regulation). The regulation will enter into force on August 28.
This strict limit is tantamount to a prohibition. In fact, the EU wants to ban all polyfluorinated substances from the substance cycle, including PFHxS.
The substances in this group are persistent organic pollutants – POPs – which means that they:
- Are persistent (they remain in the environment for a long time)
- Are bioaccumulative (they accumulate in organic tissue)
- Are ecotoxic
- Display high mobility
Due to their wide use, including in impregnating agents for textiles, leather, and upholstered furniture, PFHxS were already included in the POP list last year. The list is reviewed at regular intervals, and new substances are added as necessary.
The degradation of some PFHxS-related compounds also releases PFHxS. Therefore, an additional limit value of 1 mg/kg (0.0001 wt.%) has been set for the sum of the concentrations of all PFHxS and PFHxS-related compounds.
At the same time, a limit of 0.1 mg/kg (0.00001 wt%) applies when PFHxS are contained in concentrated fire extinguisher foam mixtures intended or used to produce those products.
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