Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)-main concerns and regulatory developments in Europe from an environmental point of view

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Lena Vierke
  • Claudia Staude
  • Annegret Biegel-Engler
  • Wiebke Drost
  • Christoph Schulte

Background: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are the most investigated substances of the group of per-and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Whereas for PFOS regulatory measures are already in force on international level (inclusion in Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants) such activities are missing for PFOA. The environmental concerns of PFOA, which are summarized in the present study, underline the necessity of regulatory measures on an international level for PFOA. Since it seems more likely to agree on a regulation within the European Union first, a regulatory strategy based on the European chemicals regulation REACH (EC No. 1907/2006), is discussed in the present study. Results: PFOA is persistent in the environment, ubiquitous present in surface waters, and subject to long-range transport. It accumulates in biota, especially in top predators. PFOA is increasingly analyzed in food items, and in drinking water. PFOA's intrinsic properties such as its persistency (P), its potential for bioaccumulation (B) and its toxicity (T) suggest that PFOA is a promising candidate for being identified as a Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) under REACH. Because of the dispersive occurrence of PFOA in the environment, the presence in imported products, and the use of PFCs, which can degrade to PFOA in various consumer products, a restriction under REACH seems to be the most effective regulatory measure to minimize human and environmental exposure to PFOA in the European Union. Conclusion: Due to its intrinsic properties, PFOA fulfills the REACH PBT-criteria. The next regulatory step will be the identification of PFOA and its ammonium salt (APFO) as SVHC according to REACH and the addition to the REACH Candidate List. As a second step, a restriction proposal will be prepared to include both substances and precursors into REACH Annex XVII.

ZeitschriftEnvironmental Sciences Europe
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 07.05.2012


  • Chemie - APFO, Candidate List, Per-and polyfluorinated chemicals, PFCAs, PFCs, PFO, PFOA, REACH, Regulation, Restriction, SVHC