Chemicals company Chemours suffers blow in EU Court of Justice on 'forever chemicals'
The European Court of Justice has today confirmed that a group of new generation ‘forever chemicals’ used in the manufacture of non-stick products are rightly labelled in the EU as being of very high concern – overruling the chemicals company Chemours.
Chemours had taken the EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to court over the inclusion of GenX chemicals in the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) list under REACH – the main EU law used to stop chemical pollution.
ClientEarth and CHEM Trust participated in a public hearing at the European Court of Justice to support ECHA and the Government of the Netherlands against the challenge in September. In court, the NGOs argued that it is vital that GenX chemicals – which are very persistent and mobile in the environment and thus present a threat to drinking water resources – are, at the very least, flagged as being of very high concern.
The GenX technology was introduced by DuPont in 2009 as a replacement for another “forever chemical” called PFOA, which was banned globally in 2019 after decades of delay, despite compelling evidence to support a ban having been in the public domain for years. (The impact of PFOA contamination on a community in the US was featured in the recent Hollywood film ´Dark Waters´, read more here).
GenX chemicals were originally presented as a ‘safer’ alternative to PFOA but Ninja Reineke, Head of Science at CHEM Trust, said: “GenX chemicals, like all PFAS, are incredibly persistent – which means they hardly degrade in the environment. Labelling them as being of very high concern is the bare minimum and a ban should be the next logical step.”
Chemours now have two months and ten days to appeal – if they decide to do so.