French MPs vote to ban ‘forever chemicals’ except in cookware

French lawmakers have adopted a bill to restrict the production and sale of non-essential products that contain PFAS, a group of synthetic "forever chemicals" that break down slowly and have been linked to cancer.

After a first reading, MPs in the National Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved a bill aimed at restricting the production, import, export and sale of some products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, called PFAS.

MPs had been divided over the legislation, while industry groups were opposed – arguing that banning the chemicals would mean layoffs.

The legilsation was approved unanimoulsy after cookware was excluded from the text, marking a win for manufacturers.

Used in some non-stick and stain-resistant products, PFAS are sometimes called "forever chemicals", because they take a long time to break down and have been detected in water, air, fish and soil in the remotest corners of the globe.

Prime Minister Gabriel said the bill, introduced by Greens MP Nicolas Thierry, is unnecessary because the use of PFAS is an issue that should be addressed on a European level.

The European Union is considering a blanket ban, but Thierry said the timeframe was too long.

The French proposal bans by 2026 the use of PFAS in cosmetics,as well as most clothing, except for some safety gear. The entire textile industry would come under the ban by 2030.

Companies had lobbyied against the law, and some lawmakers have introduced amendments pushing back its implementation, for kitchen appliances for example, to 2030.

Read more on RFI English

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