Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 31st October 2022.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of prohibiting all non-essential use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

PFAS represent a group of thousands of chemicals, with hundreds used commercially across many sectors of industry and society. There is increasing evidence of the occurrence of PFAS in the environment and, once in the environment, PFAS are persistent. There is also growing concern regarding the risks to human health. Action has already been taken to ban or highly restrict specific PFAS both domestically and internationally. However, PFAS represent a very diverse group of chemicals with a wide range of uses for which safer and more sustainable alternatives are not yet available – making this a very challenging issue to tackle.

Work is underway across government to help us assess levels of PFAS occurring in the environment, their sources and potential risks to inform future policy and regulatory approaches. In the UK REACH Work Programme for 2021-22, Defra asked the EA and HSE to examine the risks posed by PFAS and develop a ‘Regulatory Management Options Analysis’ (RMOA). The RMOA will be published in due course and will make recommendations for risk management measures. Defra and the Devolved Administrations will carefully consider its recommendations to inform future PFAS policy, building on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to tackle chemicals of concern.

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