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Developments in Fluoropolymer Manufacturing Technology to Remove Intentional Use of PFAS as Polymerization Aids

Bruno Ameduri, Jaime Sales and Michael Schlipf


This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Licence Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

Fluoropolymers are heavily impacted by the restriction proposal on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that has been recently published under the EU REACH Regulation.1 While matching the definition of PFAS due to their chemical composition and structure, fluoropolymers are significantly different from other substances in the PFAS family. The only substantial reason for concern associated to fluoropolymers is the use of non-polymeric PFAS as polymerization aids during the manufacturing process. In the past, environmental pollution caused by PFOA and PFOS, which are prominent non-polymer substances in the PFAS family, has attracted regulatory attention. PFOS has been restricted and PFOA has been banned under the EU Regulation on Persistent Organic Pollutants. This article highlights the progress that industry has made over the last years in relation to control of PFAS emissions due to their use in fluoropolymer production. Such a progress is based on the improvement of abatement techniques, but more importantly, on the removal of PFAS polymerization aids, introducing alternative technologies that do not require using such chemicals. It is expected that most of the fluoropolymer production will be developed completely free from PFAS polymerization aids in a relatively short time frame. Thus, it appears reasonable to claim that fluoropolymers that are manufactured without the use of PFAS polymerization aids should be exempted from any regulatory initiative, and that their uses should be allowed without any unjustified restriction.


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