PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ found in bike oils
A new study by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has found that several commercially available bike oils contain PFAS ‘forever chemicals’.
As Summer approaches, many of us may take the opportunity of a more welcoming outdoors to indulge in some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. This may include getting your bicycle out of the shed, dusting down the seat, oiling up the gears and taking a ride through the town or countryside. But a recent study by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has found certain oils used to grease bike chains contain toxic PFAS chemicals.
PFAS – a family of over 10,000 synthetic chemicals – are used in numerous consumer products, from food packaging to clothing, due to their water and grease-proof properties. These chemicals can persist in our environment for decades – earning them the moniker ‘forever chemicals’. PFAS exposure has been linked to a range of health problems, including the promotion of certain cancers and reduced responses to vaccines in children.
In this new study, the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals looked at 27 different bike oils. Oils that were labelled as containing PTFE or Teflon (a type of PFAS) were not sent for analysis. The rest of the products were sent for lab analysis, where they were analysed for Total Organic Fluorine (TOF) – which indicates the presence of PFAS.
Products that were free of PFAS and had no environmental warnings were given the highest ‘A-rating’. Seven of the oils were given this gold medal ‘A-rating’ you can find out which ones here. Eight received a B-rating – indicating they were aerosol sprays, hazardous to the environment or contained a lower level of PFAS. Disappointingly 44% of the bike oils tested received the lowest rating level of a C. Products branded with a C contained PFAS.
Legislative gears often grind slowly, however progress to restrict the use of PFAS is beginning to get on the road. In recent months a proposal for a PFAS group restriction in the EU, submitted by authorities in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, was published by The European Chemicals Agency.
In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week published the long-awaited Risk Management Option Analysis (RMOA) for PFAS. It makes several recommendations to the government around the PFAS pollution crisis. CHEM Trust welcomes the RMOA, however we are concerned over the narrow scope of the restrictions. We continue to call for a ban on all PFAS in consumer products by 2025.