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PFAS – European Union discusses new draft decision

PFAS – what exactly are these substances that are so often talked about and what damage can contamination mean for you and your company?

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances“, also known as PFAS, are a group of substances that are used in various industrial sectors. First made famous by the world renowned “Teflon pan”, these substances are valued for their strong water-, oil- and dirt-repellent properties and have many uses in consumer goods production, including, for example, as a lubricant in ski wax, as a dirt repellent and in waterproofing spray on textiles, as a non-stick coating on cookware, as a coating in chemical reactors, as a stabilizer in firefighting foam and much more.

However, these substances have come under criticism for their potential health and ecological effects on humans, animals, and the environment: Due to their strong persistence, they are very difficult if not impossible to degrade in nature and in the environment, including agricultural food production, while accumulation of PFAS in the human body can also lead to adverse health effects.

Due to these dangers posed by PFAS, the EU has reacted by declaring certain substances in the group as “substances of very high concern” (SVHC) under the European chemical substance regulation REACH. Certain substances of the PFAS family, such as PFOA and PFOS, are even completely banned for industrial use in the EU. For other substances, there are clear threshold values for how strongly different food products may be contaminated with them.

The European Union is currently discussing a draft resolution to monitor the PFAS content of foodstuffs more closely and more strictly. According to the draft resolution, the EU plans to have foods from a wide range of sectors tested for PFAS. These include foods such as “fruits, vegetables, starchy roots and tubers, cereals, nuts, food for infants and young children, food of animal origin, non-alcoholic drinks as well as wine and beer.” Consequently, the potential presence of PFAS in various sectors of the food industry is an important, wide-ranging issue. From contaminated farmland to unknown residues in production to contaminated crop yields: Many business owners are now unsure if their production or supply chains are affected by PFAS contamination due to the upcoming EU draft proposal.

GALAB can help you to accurately determine possible PFAS contamination in a wide range of industries. GALAB is currently the only analytical laboratory that can offer you a very low limit of quantification of 0.01 µg/kg by LC-MS/MS for PFAS.

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