PFOA banned under Stockholm Convention

Delegates at the ninth Stockholm Convention conference in Geneva have agreed to ban perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA, along with its salts and related compounds, because of its risks to the environment.

PFOA, a fluorinated chemical, has been used in everything from firefighting foams to greaseproof paper, but is readily absorbed by the human gut and highly persistent. Parties to the Stockholm Convention agreed on Friday to place it on annex A of the convention, which requires them to ban its use and production.

Exemptions for using and producing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF) were also reduced at Friday’s meeting, although the substances are not subject to an outright ban as recommended by a UN expert committee in September.

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