Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic substance not naturally belong in the environment. A recent Danish study suggests that there may be an association between PFOA levels in pregnant women and the risk that daughters are overweight in the age of 20.
The Norwegian ban on PFOA includes both solid and liquid products, and textiles.
- We work to protect consumers and the environment from the worst elements. A ban on PFOA in consumer products is an important measure to halt discharges of a substance we know have serious health and environmental adverse effects, says Marit Kjeldby, Acting Director of the Climate and Pollution Agency (CPA).
Available in consumer products
PFOA has been used in a variety of consumer products for many years. The drug can be used in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, which is used in water-resistant "breathable" outer jackets. The drug may also be included in compositions to treat carpets and textiles to make them water-and dirt-repellent.
BAN ON PFOA
From 1 June 2014, it is prohibited to manufacture, import, export and sell consumer products and textiles that contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and individual salts and esters of PFOA in Norway.
There is a limit related to the ban. This is set low and slightly different for different product types: 0.001 percent PFOA in a mixture, 1 micrograms / square meter in textiles and 0.1 percent at constant product's component parts.
The prohibitions do not apply to food packaging, food contact materials and medical devices.
- Each product represents a small source of PFOA, but together contribute such small sources to the total amount of PFOA builds up in humans, the environment and food chain, says Marit Kjeldby.
The drug is found in both polar bears and arctic birds that live far away from where it is created and used. There are also regular drug in blood samples from humans.
Also regulated in the EU
In parallel with the work of the Norwegian ban we are one of the driving forces for the PFOA prohibited throughout EU-/EEA-area. Following a proposal from Norway and Germany decided recently the EU Chemicals Agency ECHA that PFOA is a PBT substance (persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic), and brought the drug into the EU candidate list of substances that give particular cause for concern.
Pollutants know no borders, and it is therefore very important to establish international regulations. says Marit Kjeldby. - To get this to work we actively with environmental authorities in other countries.