EU: ECHA Identifies New Substance of Very High Concern

Published July 12, 2017

​On Monday, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) added perfluorohexane-1-sulfonic acid and its salts, also known as PFHxS, to its Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) for Authorization. ECHA’s website states that PFHxS has been added to the Candidate List due to its “very persistent and very bioaccumulative” properties. PFHxS, which is not yet registered under the EU’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), may be used as a plasticizer, lubricant, surfactant, wetting agent, corrosion inhibitor, and in firefighting foams.According to an ECHA document (PDF) supporting the identification of PFHxS as an SVHC, PFHxS are strong acids that are both oil and water repellent. PFHxS also belong to the group of perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (PFSA), which are “very resistant to chemical, thermal and biological degradation due to their strong carbon-fluorine bonds.” ECHA notes that this resistance to degradation makes many PFAS, including PFHxS, persistent in the environment.

In addition, ECHA has updated its entries for bisphenol A (BPA) and four phthalates—benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)—to include information regarding endocrine-disrupting properties for human health.

The Candidate List now contains 174 substances. Identifying a substance as an SVHC and including it in the Candidate List is the first step of the authorization procedure under REACH. SVHCs are substances that may have serious and often irreversible effects on human health and the environment.

For more information, visit the ECHA webpage on addressing chemicals of concern.