The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced on January 13, 2023, that the national authorities of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden have submitted a proposal to restrict per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. ECHA will publish the detailed proposal, “one of the broadest in the [European Union’s (EU)] history,” on February 7, 2023. According to ECHA, the national authorities found risks in the manufacture, placement on the market, and use of PFASs that are not adequately controlled and need to be addressed throughout the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). ECHA states that it will run the required administrative checks before the proposed restriction and supporting documents are made available on February 7, 2023. On the same day, the national authorities will host a hybrid media event in Brussels from 11:00 to 12:30 (CET).
ECHA’s Scientific Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC) will check that the proposed restriction meets the legal requirements of REACH in their March 2023 meetings. If it does, RAC and SEAC will begin their scientific evaluation of the proposal. ECHA plans to begin a six-month consultation on March 22, 2023. ECHA states that it will hold an online information session on April 5, 2023, to explain the restriction process and help those interested in participating in the consultation.
ECHA notes that the opinions of RAC and SEAC are typically ready within 12 months of the start of the scientific evaluation, in accordance with REACH. In view of the complexity of the proposal and the extent of information that is expected from the consultation, however, RAC and SEAC “may need more time to finalise their opinions.” Once the opinions are adopted, they will be sent to the European Commission (EC), who together with the EU member states will then decide on a potential restriction.