The term fluorinated solvents covers various different solvents like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrofluoroethers (HFEs) and hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs). These groups of fluorinated solvents are not one chemical substance but large group of organofluorinated compounds.

Whereas fluorinated solvents from the older generation like CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs are known for their global warming potential (GWP) and are therefore phased-out or about to be phased-out within the Montreal Protocol, HFEs and HFOs are marketed as a new generation of fluorinated solvents in industrial parts cleaning with low or no global warming potential (GWP).

HFOs for example are often promoted as drop-in replacements for HFCs. The GWP of HFOs is lower than that of HFCs. Nevertheless, there are some concerns about HFOs as the composition of these compounds is not entirely transparent, and scientific data is lacking.

While there is no restriction on the use of HFEs and HFOs generally, the emerging discussion on the restriction of PFAS might also have an impact on the availability of some HFEs and/or HFOs.

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. It is therefore not “a” chemical per se; but a large group of organofluorine compounds. PFAS are used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products which can resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. Fluoropolymer coatings are found in a variety of day-to-day products including heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, insulation of electrical wire, food packages, adhesives, furniture, foam in fire extinguishers, amongst others.

There are over 5000 different synthetic substances which fall under the term PFAS. However, less than 10% of all PFAS are in commercial use today. Other often used terms such as PFOS, PFOA, perfluoroalkyls all fall under the definition of PFAS. These substances contain a chain of carbon atoms bonded to fluorine atoms. These carbon-fluorine bonds are very strong organic bonds which make PFAS extremely stable and give them their unique properties.

Due to their widespread use and their persistence in the environment PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals”. They can be found in water, air and soil. Some PFAS were also already detected at low concentrations in human and animal bodies. Scientific studies indicate that certain PFAS are toxic for reproduction and may cause cancer. Some PFAS are also suspected of interfering with the human endocrine (hormonal) system.

At the moment, there is no general ban of PFAS in neither Europe nor the US, although the responsible authorities in the regions are currently evaluating the risks posed by PFAS.



A number of PFAS are already on the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHC), for example PFOA, perfluorinated carboxylic acids (C9-14 PFCAs) and PFHxS.

Several additional PFAS are on the list for evaluation (Community rolling action plan) over the coming years. The evaluation aims to clarify initial concerns on the potential risk to human health or the environment that manufacturing or using these substances could pose.

On 13th January 2022, the national REACH authorities of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have officially submitted a restriction dossier regarding PFAS to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). With this, the regulatory process to potentially restrict the manufacture and use of PFAS by 2025 has been formally initiated in the EU.

ECHA’s scientific committees will now start evaluating the proposal in terms of the risks to people and the environment, and the impacts on society. 

SAFECHEM will closely monitor the process and will inform as soon as new information is available.

For additional information, please visit:

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - Perfluoralkylchemikalien (PFAS) - ECHA (europa.eu)
For a general overview about the next steps please visit - All news - ECHA (europa.eu)


On October 18, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The Roadmap sets out timelines by which the EPA plans to take specific actions during the remaining first term of the Biden-Harris administration (2021-2024). 

As most of the PFAS which are currently used in commerce have limited or no toxicity data, the EPA published a National Testing Strategy simultaneously with the release of the PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The Goal of the National Testing Strategy is to advance the understanding of the impacts of PFAS. It describes how the EPA identified PFAS in 24 categories. The Agency will require manufacturers to perform testing under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Section 4 on candidate substances representing the 24 categories. 

The Testing Strategy also describes a tiered-testing approach for each candidate PFAS which will inform whether additional testing within a category is necessary. The EPA will implement the strategy in phases –with Phase IA focused on human health data, and Phase II on ecological toxicity.

Since the publication of the National Testing Strategy, the EPA has published several other actions on PFAS.

SAFECHEM will closely monitor the process and will inform as soon as new information is available.

For additional information, please visit: 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - PFAS Explained | US EPA
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Key EPA Actions to Address PFAS | US EPA



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