This excellent resistance to oxidative agents such as chlorine and ozone, as well as the high UV and temperature resistance, also lead to a long service life. Once released into the environment, these substances remain for a long time, which is why the term "eternity chemicals" is circulating in the media. A proposal for restrictions or a Europe-wide ban on PFAS is currently being discussed at the European Union level.
However, an unrestricted PFAS ban would have devastating effects on the treatment of drinking water, its quality assurance and its distribution.
Where are substances containing PFAS used?
Fluoropolymers are high-performance plastics. They include PTFE (polytetrafluoroethene), known under the trade name Teflon, FKM (fluoroelastomer), known as Viton, and PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride). These materials are generally used in the water sector as separating, diaphragm or sealing materials. They are found, for example, in fittings, in pipelines and in ozone-carrying systems. There are currently no alternative substances available on the market that can be used here. It should also be noted that alternative substances would have to have the same properties and would therefore also have a long service life.
Numerous concepts already exist to safely prevent the release of hazardous PFAS substances into the environment during production, use and disposal.
In principle, however, it is positive that the uncontrolled use of materials containing PFAS and the resulting ecological problems are being discussed, which arise from the hardly controllable and excessive use of PFAS in consumables for private applications (outdoor clothing, etc.) or packaging and in applications where direct release into the environment occurs (firefighting foams, ski wax, lubricants, etc.).