New German Regulation Imposes Thresholds for PFAS

New PFAS threshold values applicable to soil testing will start on August 1, 2023.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) constitute a group of thousands of synthetic chemicals that are widely used in various consumer and industrial products. Because of their suspected mobility and persistency, PFAS chemicals are said to accumulate in the food chains and contaminate soil and groundwater without disintegrating naturally.

PFAS have given rise to widespread environmental litigation in the United States and are also subject to an increasing number of litigations in Europe and Germany.

At the European level, various rules and regulations regarding PFAS exist, such as the CLP Regulation, the REACH Regulation, and internationally, the Stockholm Convention. On March 22, 2023, ECHA published a proposal to ban the use and placing on the market (including import) of PFAS as such, in mixtures and in articles above residual level, unless their use is subject to an explicit derogation. These wide ranging restrictions are expected to be adopted by the European Commission around 2025, and take effect in 2027.