Because Europe wants to exclude pesticides and pesticides from the Pfas ban on toxic substances

Ten thousand toxic chemicals circulate in Europe, but getting rid of them completely is more difficult than it seems. Given the difficulty of degradation after release into the environment, we are talking about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (Pfas), also known as “forever chemicals”. After numerous investigations and scandals, even in Italy, some European Union countries have requested bans, but the notion that special exceptions are necessary for two types of companies is still valid: pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. The ban proposed by Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway this year provides exemptions for chemicals used in plant protection products, biocides and medicines. To support this view, he notes that further evaluation is needed to “determine the extent to which PFAS can be prohibited for these particular applications.” The proposal is under review by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa), but a draft opinion has been leaked questioning the need for these exceptions.

Pressure from the lobbies

Exemptions concern the two most powerful sectors in Europe and the world, which use these substances in both finished products and packaging, and are struggling to find viable alternatives to them. The July 5 draft opinion of Echa’s Committee on Socio-Economic Analysis states that the arguments for excluding these industries are “currently unjustified and inconsistent for various reasons.” The lobbies in Brussels are pressing for the continuation of the exemptions, and the document frightened them with billions of euros at stake.

Also available in “echo” objects

Research in recent years has found a correlation between “forever chemicals” and health, especially in cases of cancer, liver damage, and decreased fertility. Their presence is particularly detected in plastic objects, but in a recent study from Belgium they have also been detected in objects considered to be “ecological”, such as paper and bamboo straws. Another testament to the fact that scientists have found these substances in any element of daily life, from breast milk to rainwater, including soil even if it wasn’t treated with pesticides at the time. Therefore, the ability of Pfas to persist in both humans and sites has been established even years after use.

common in drugs

This is despite both pharmaceutical and veterinary lobbies lobbying for an exemption from any ban. Medicines used in everything from heart diseases to depression are full of these substances. Industry groups suggest that among the 200 best-selling drugs, as many as 25 contain one of Echa’s targeted chemicals. The basic element of Pfas-type chemicals is fluorine atoms, which contain chemical properties that cannot be changed in drugs. The risk of discontinuing them is to cause “serious toxicity problems” for the drugs in question, as industry groups complain. PFA’s are widely used in packaging, reagents and equipment required for pharmaceutical production, as well as in the healthcare field. An absolute ban destroys one of the pillars of the industry.

regulatory space

A similar situation exists in the field of agricultural chemistry, where fluorine is the basis of many pesticides, as the Danish pesticide lobby Dansk Plantev√¶rn acknowledges. Companies assure that current regulations already guarantee “adequate protection for the environment and health,” but these assurances confuse many. According to NGOs fighting for a total ban, the exception granted would represent a “major regulatory gap”. The risk is that people continue to be exposed to these substances through contact with drugs and food, which are two important elements of daily life.

Source: Today IT