Perfluorohexane-1-Sulphonic Acid on the REACH Candidate List
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has included the substance perfluorohexane-1-sulphonic acid (PFHxS) in Annex XV of the REACH Regulation, also known as the Candidate List. In a press release, the Zentralverband Oberflächentechnik e.V. (ZVO, German Central Association for Surface Technology) sees this as a “new challenge for electroplating and surface technology”. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), this measure is part of a wider strategy to fully regulate the group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS). The goal is to prevent undesired substitutions by other PFAS. PFHxS’s inclusion in Annex XV paves the way for its inclusion in Annex XIV whereby the substance would be subject to authorisation. The polyfluorinated compounds therefore may soon run the high risk of a complete ban according to the ZVO’s assessment.
Polyfluorinated compounds have up until now been valued, among other things, in electroplating as surfactants, which remain effective even in aggressive environments such as in chromium trioxide solutions; the surfactants do not decompose and therefore ensure stable exposure conditions. Few other compounds exhibit these properties. The same applies to non-stick coatings. The ZVO points out that these substances with their unique properties would have to be replaced in the future, and this is further complicated by the fact that alternative substances and their associated risks have not been clarified. With PFHxS’s inclusion in Annex XV, distributors now face immediate obligations.