Per- and polyfluorinated substances in the Nordic Countries

Use, occurence and toxicology

image of Per- and polyfluorinated substances in the Nordic Countries

This Tema Nord report presents a study based on open information and custom market research to review the most common perfluorinated substances (PFC) with less focus on PFOS and PFOA. The study includes three major parts:1) Identification of relevant per-and polyfluorinated substances and their use in various industrial sectors in the Nordic market by interviews with major players and database information2) Emissions to and occurence in the Nordic environment of the substances described in 1)3) A summary of knowledge of the toxic effects on humans and the environment of substances prioritized in 2)There is a lack of physical chemical data, analystical reference substances, human and environmental occurrence and toxicology data, as well as market information regarding PFCs other than PFOA and PFOS and the current legislation cannot enforce disclosure of specific PFC substance information.




Polyfluorinated substances have been used for a long time, but there was no focus on this group until widespread environmental occurrence (e.g., in polar bears) and high reproductive toxicity were found for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Because of these properties of the extremely persistent PFOS and by the fact that PFCs do not occur naturally in nature, the substance is restricted under the Stockholm Convention (nominated by Sweden), with only a few allowed remaining uses. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was the second substance from this group to attract interest, with hazard and risk assessments being performed, and classification and labelling under discussion in the EU (proposal from Norway). PFOA is a candidate for restriction under Reach. The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) lists a total of 853 different fluorine compounds. Among these some are currently being phased out due to regulations mentioned above.


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