Hot Spot - Potential Ban on PFAS Sealing Materials

What is it?

The BVAA has been alerted by the European Sealing Association (ESA) that both EU and UK Governments are currently considering introducing restrictions on the production and use of Per/Polyflouroalkyl substances (PFAS) which could potentially result in a ban on their use on health and environmental grounds. Many commonly used sealing materials are classified as PFAS such as PTFE, FKM, FKKM and FVMQ (Flourosilicone).

The HSE is working with the Environment Agency to perform a Regulatory Management Options Analysis (RMOA) that aims to identify the most appropriate regulatory options for managing any risks to human health and the environment originating from the use of PFAS. To obtain information the HSE has opened an on-line call for evidence and invites interested parties to respond with information relevant to the manufacture, import, marketing and use of PFAS in GB. Please follow the link to access the call for evidence pages UK REACH – PFAS RMOA - Call for evidence - Health and Safety Executive - Citizen Space (hse.gov.uk) 

Why is it Important?

The call for evidence is designed to be completed by material manufacturers and suppliers of PFAS to provide the UK Government with information on the manufacture and current usage of these substances so that they can adopt the best approach to protect human health and the environment from any identified risks.

The introduction of restrictions in use, or a full ban on the use of PFAS would have a significant effect on the pressure equipment industry and is unlikely to present an effective approach to reducing the risks associated with their use. An important aspect of this call for evidence is to ensure that applications such as fluid sealing are prominently identified during the exercise. This is particularly important where the use of available alternative materials in place of PFAS may be more damaging to human health and the environment due to their inferior sealing performance.

A position paper from the Federation of German Industries (BDI) provides more information on this issue, along with a spreadsheet that lists many of the common substances that are classed as PFAS (available from BVAA).

The BVAA is advised that the ESA is in the process of organising a response from its members to the call for evidence. Not all BVAA members who are seal manufacturers or suppliers are members of the ESA, therefore the BVAA recommends that they should ensure that their views are considered by accessing the link to the call for evidence pages and completing the forms.

The final report will be made available on HSE's website, with publication expected in the summer of 2022.

Continuous Improvement

Did we miss anything?

Hot Spots are intended to alert members and provide a brief overview of new standards, activities or procedures that are being introduced in the industry. If there is key information missing that would be helpful, please let us know so that we can improve our future service.

Please Note: This Hotspot is for information purposes, and we invite comments from BVAA members only. Please also note that at time of publication ballots may be closed. For more information, please contact the Secretariat.

BVAA Members: Did you know we have a hotspot tab on the BVAA website? Head over to www.bvaa.org.uk/login-here.asp and log into the member only area. You then need to select ‘Hotspots’ for the latest. For information on how to access the member only area of the website please contact laura@bvaa.org.uk


Published: 27th January 2022

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