(Belga) Belgium on Wednesday brought to the Council of the EU, the institution bringing together representatives of the 27 Member States, the request for a ban at European level of PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS). PFOS, found in large quantities in the soil of Zwijndrecht, as part of the Oosterweel site, is part of this family. The particularity of these substances is their persistence in the environment and, ultimately, in the human body, with a risk of impact on health beyond a certain threshold.
It was Céline Tellier, Walloon Minister for the Environment and Nature, who was present and spoke on behalf of Belgium on this file, at the meeting in Luxembourg of European environment ministers. The Minister to call in her speech to share knowledge and good practices between the Member States on the management of historical pollution, and to develop European expertise in the matter. Biomonitoring, as launched in Wallonia on the issue, is important “at all levels”, she insisted. Specifically, Belgium “will support the adoption of an ambitious restriction covering PFAS as a group of substances within the framework of the REACH legislation”, affirmed the Walloon minister. REACH is the European regulation which governs the management of all chemical substances (used in industry or included in everyday objects), from their identification to a framework for their authorization for substances considered to be of concern. Some PFAS (including PFOS) are already limited or banned in the EU, and the files are progressing one by one, under the impetus of the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Germany, among others. One of the problems with PFAS, however, is that it is a very large family, developing several thousand synthetic chemicals. For Belgium, it is necessary to prohibit “all non-essential uses of PFAS” and “to authorize only specific uses for which it is proven that they are essential for society and for as long and as long as no alternative is available. available “, explained Céline Tellier. France, among others, has indicated that it supports this approach “by family of substances”. At the end of the meeting, the Walloon Minister announced that she was delighted with the good reception of her proposal, citing in particular the support of Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, France, the Netherlands and from Finland. The Belgian delegation communicated to the other ministers an informative note, calling for example on the Commission to support an international commitment to implement perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS). It is not yet listed as a “to be resolved” substance under the Stockholm Convention, despite recommendations to do so. (Belga)