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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert


Many parts of life are complicated, there are no “easy answers” or even a single correct answer. The same holds true for fluoropolymers, known as PFAS which are used in the production of so many products from trains to cookware, lubricants, and batteries. The US Environmental Protection Agency has stated that even extremely limited levels of PFAS could be dangerous. The EU wants to ban PFAS from 2027 but this could have an extremely negative effect on our transition to more sustainable everything.

Finding the balance between giving industries time to find alternatives, governments meeting commitments made regarding keeping people safe and their sustainable transition goals and finally running out of time to limit permanent damage to the environment due to climate change. If we peel back the commentary coming from each group a little, we can see that industries do not want to spend the money to research an alternative. Governments do not have the money to give away for the research and are looking for quick wins to use during the next election cycle. Environmental groups lack empathy considering the masses of people an outright ban would affect.

Currently, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is doing viability studies in many EU countries (according to the Financial Times) and the outcome will be something to keep watching. A 2020 publication from the American Chemical Society on policy analysis of fluoropolymers is a great read for more background.

For your company, use of SAP S/4HANA for product compliance can keep you up to date on product marketability, (including polymers like PFAS) and dangerous goods, making sure your products are produced, stored, labeled, transported, and sold; safely and legally. Changes are coming, by using product compliance, with our regulatory content service, you can focus on your business, and we can help you be more efficient and remain compliant.

No straightforward way to address the issue:

  1. Climate change is a factor. Even though there may not be a one-to-one relationship here, any rash changes enforced by governments or regulatory bodies could harm businesses, consumer end products, and the environment. Removing a widely used chemical could create inflation, meaning businesses and consumers buy alternatives from other countries, resulting more emissions from transporting products.

  2. Creating an alternative to PFAS. Under normal circumstances this could take years of research for companies from different industries which works the same or better. That is time we really don’t have.

In a perfect world, we could produce a new, more sustainable, and safer alternative to PFAS. Thereby improving brand names, company reputations, consumer safety and meet sustainability goals; who thinks this is what will happen? The irony here is that if we come together as companies, governments, consumer and environmental groups, positive outcomes become achievable for all! Personally, we need increased collaboration, cooperation, and unity in the face of such difficult problems.

Let me know what you think, leave a comment below, I would be interested in your perspective.