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Work process in POPFREE

The goal for POPFREE is to promote feasible non-fluorinated alternatives in six diffrent product categories, with the help of the work process we have developed. The project also includes raising awareness within the entire value chain of the risks associated with PFAS and knowledge of PFAS-free alternatives.

When a substitution need has been identified, the work is performed according to the following process:

  1. Question the function and required level of performance.
  2. Select a possible substitute, potential alternatives to a hazardous chemical.
  3. Control the relevance of the alternative from an environmental and technical perspective.
  4. Ensure that the process is feasible at industrial scale.
  5. Implement and spread the results to the industry.

The starting point for each product category is to identify the function and performance of PFAS in existing solutions. Potential non-fluorinated alternatives are selected based-on performance criteria and matching test methods. The selected alternatives are assessed according to a substitution protocol including both environmental and health assessment as well as legal aspects and technical performance testing.

The environmental and health assessment has 3 levels: chemical risk assessment, screening LCA and detailed LCA. To avoid regrettable substitution, all alternatives have to be assessed on the first level, i.e. chemical risk assessment. This step also includes legal risks. Alternatives that fail at this level are not selected for further evaluation. However, for alternatives that do pass, they may be assessed through more thorough environmental and health analysis and technical performance. Technical feasible alternatives will be selected for prototype manufacturing and evaluation according to industrial standards.

Awareness – a way for change

Communication is a key enabler for a systemic change and therefore of the POPFREE project. One important part is to inform industry on available technical solution and solutions under development as well as keep them updated on legal developments. POPFREE also contributes to inform on PFAS health and environmental effects using scientific based facts. In addition, POPFREE communicates a holistic view based on life-cycle perspective. Communication in the project is both for industry players as well as for other stakeholders including consumers.