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REACH proposal is unclear

The European chemical trade association, CEFIC, has admitted that it is unclear what HFC and HFO refrigerants are included in the new REACH regulation proposals.

“The new PFAS definition includes a number of HFCs and HFOs. We are seeking clarity on certain aspects of the definition before we can specify which products are excluded,” a CEFIC spokesperson told the Cooling Post.

Last week, five European member states – Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark – published their intention to submit a joint restriction proposal under the European REACH regulations for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by July 2022.

The European REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation governs which chemicals can be manufactured and used within the EU.

The ROI’s complexity of the published definition of the structural formulas of the PFAS substances that the restriction would cover has created uncertainty as to which HFCs or HFOs might be included. It is thought, for instance, that R32 is one of the refrigerants that might fall outside of the proposed restriction.

CEFIC also emphasises that the ROI is the first step in a long process. “We should emphasise that this is only the first stage of the process and inclusion in the ROI does not mean that HFCs and HFOs will ultimately be restricted by this proposal,” CEFIC said.