POPFREE – Promotion of PFAS-free alternatives
POPFREE is a series of innovation projects, financed by Vinnova - Sweden's Innovation Agency and project partners, aiming to promote products free from PFAS.
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances and is a large group of chemicals that have great water and dirt repellent properties, are film-forming and can resist high temperatures. PFAS is therefore found in everything from water-repellent clothing, make-up, food contact paper, and furniture to ski wax and fire foam.
Unfortunately, PFAS also has adverse effects on health and environment. They are extremely persistent (degrade extremely slowly) and contaminate our water, air, and food. Elevated levels of PFAS have been found in 144 municipal water sources in Sweden. PFAS can accumulate in the blood and in organs such as the liver and kidneys. Some of the substances are carcinogenic and studies on animals have shown that they can affect both reproduction and our immune system.
A PFAS phase-out has a strong focus in the EU's Chemicals Strategy and a proposal to regulate PFAS as a group was submitted to ECHA in January 2023. This can lead to that PFAS will no longer be allowed in many different products and applications. A consultation is now open (closes September 25) where companies and stakeholders are encouraged to participate.
Many companies have or are in the process of phasing out PFAS and choose to act before the legislation enters into force in order not to contribute to the further pollution of PFAS into the environment.
POPFREE aims to, with product development and communication contribute to the transition into a world free from non-essential use of PFAS.