On Tuesday, February 7, the European Union began reviewing plans to ban the use of “forever chemicals”, or PFAS, while forcing companies to find safer materials for their products. 

The plan would be the EU’s most inducive regulation on the chemical industry if approved.

Due to their strength and resistance to high heat, forever chemicals have been used for decades in aircraft, trains, cars, fabrics, and furniture.

Forever chemicals are also widely used in medical equipment as well but the studies of the last few decades have pointed out the dangers of this substance for human health, and in recent years it has been found that it can cause cancer, negatively affect the activity of hormones and weaken the body’s immune system.

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The five countries – Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and non-EU state Norway – which have been collaborating on the proposal said in a joint statement on Tuesday that, if passed, it would become “one of the largest bans on chemical substances ever in Europe”.

According to this plan, if the new regulations are approved, manufacturing companies will be given between 18 months and 12 years to find healthy and safe alternatives instead of about 10,000 products that are currently made with PFAS.

While urging companies to find alternatives, the five countries said In their statement “In many cases, no such alternatives currently exist, and in some they possibly never will”

Textile waterproofing agents, such as paraffin wax, are among the easiest to replace, but some medical devices, such as pacemakers, do not have substitutes.

According to the suggestions of this new plan, the law banning the use of PFAS will probably be implemented in 2026 or 2027.