France bans PFAS - but not all of them

The French National Assembly has unanimously agreed to ban the manufacture, import and sale of products containing PFAS from 2026 — with the exception of kitchenware such as coated pans, which were excluded from the ban due to pressure from manufacturers. PFAS stands for perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds. These chemicals are extremely persistent and suspected of being carcinogenic. Commentators take a critical view of the exception.

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Safeguard health resolutely

The industrial companies are reacting in the same way they did in the past, for example with asbestos, teacher Adeline de Wilde laments in an opinion piece in La Libre Belgique:

“They are trying to ‘buy time’, in other words, they are delaying the statutory bans for as long as possible in order to sell as many products as they can in the meantime, even if this means enriching themselves at the expense of human health. ... They try to make us believe that there are good and bad PFAS and that it is a matter of banning them on a case-by-case basis. ... Yet the scientists are clear: their persistence alone is sufficient reason to assume that they accumulate in our bodies and in the environment. ... This is why a law should be drafted that does not only prohibit the use of specific PFAS, but of the entire family [of chemicals].”

Adeline de Wilde
Le Monde (FR) /

Exceptional risks must be taken seriously

In Le Monde, a group of scientists argues in favour of an overall ban:

“Certain industries are responsible for the release of PFAS into the environment, as observed at the Arkema and Daikin plants in ‘chemical valley ’ near Lyon. But assessing the health risks posed by individual PFAS may take decades. We therefore call for PFAS to be treated as a single chemical category due to their long persistence and proven or potential risks to human health and the environment.”