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German groups call for PFAS exemption

GERMANY: Industry groups in Germany have called for exemptions for F-gases and spare parts for refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps in any future European PFAS bans.

Earlier this year, an axis of five European countries – Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark – submitted a joint restriction proposal to the European REACH regulations for PFAS containing substances. The wider definition proposed would include virtually all HFC and HFO refrigerants.

With consultations on the regulations about to conclude, seven of Germany’s leading groups and associations, including the federal guild BIV and contractors’ body VDKF, are calling for an exception made for PFAS-containing F-gases and an unlimited exemption for fluorinated refrigerants for service and maintenance purposes.

It points out that the RACHP industries use PFAS chemicals in a variety of forms and applications, including in seals, construction and coating materials, electrotechnical components, as well as fluorinated refrigerants. 

“In many cases material properties are not currently available and also not in the timeframe of the planned ban periods can be developed as marketable products,” the group says in a statement.

All fluorinated refrigerants, with five exceptions, would be affected by the PFAS ban. The group argues that the use of F-gases is already being strictly regulated and continuously restricted within the framework of the European F-gas regulation.

Rejecting any ban that was “detached from an assessment of the actual environmental impact and the foreseeable availability of suitable substitutes”, the group says: “The safe operation of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump systems would otherwise be massively jeopardised – with the corresponding consequences for our entire economy and society.”

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