PTFE-products from Berghof are PFOA / PFOS free

PTFE-products from Berghof are PFOA / PFOS free

August 13, 2020
Dr. Michael Henes | Manager Developement

Long-standing customers of Berghof Fluoroplastics have known it already for years: Our PTFE products and especially the filters and membranes have always been free from the substances PFOA, its salts and PFOS, for which an EU-wide restriction on production, marketing, import and use came into force on 04.07.2020. This is again confirmed by test reports based on the latest regulation standards and limit values from an independent testing institute.

For Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the principle also applies: one polymer is not always like another. Berghof Fluoroplastics therefore attaches great importance to not only ensuring that all of the used base materials are free from substances that are harmful to humans and animals as well as for the environment, but also that none of these substances are used in the implemented product refinement processes or can evolve during the process.

We have always paid special attention to the perfluorinated surfactants perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), its salts as well as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) which were in use for a long time in many industries and, in some cases, still are, for coating or impregnating products to make them water, oil and dirt-repellent.

There are several reasons why we at Berghof set our focus on avoiding these substances: these grease and water-soluble substances which do not occur naturally are compounds which – like soap or detergents – affect the surface tension of water. Chemically speaking, they are hydrocarbon compounds in which the hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms. Because of their chemical resistance, perfluorinated surfactants are not biodegradable; the term “eternity chemicals” has established itself among experts. Because of their grease and water solubility (bipolarity), they also can bear unforeseeable health risks for humans and animals. What is alarming is that they have now been detected world-wide in the environment, human blood and even in the fauna of the Antarctic. Because the human and animal organism cannot break down these compounds and only discharges them very slowly. Another difficulty is: animal experiments lead to the suspicion that they can be developmentally harmful and carcinogenic.

We therefore always made sure that our products and processes were free from them long before the European Union (EU) put PFOA, its salts and PFOS on the REACH list of so-called “Substances of Very High Concern, SVHC’s” in 2017.

In 2010, for example, in a development project with the aim of equipping our Permeaflon® membranes with an even greater oil repellency factor (increased oleophobicitiy) in accordance with the specifications of the standards AATCC 118 or DIN EN ISO 14419, we developed a process which is also free from PFOA, its salts and PFOS.

Since 04.07.2020, the import and processing of PFOA, its salts and precursor compounds is prohibited in the EU, which has led to great uncertainty in the market in this respect. Based on the latest regulation standards and limit values, we have had further tests performed by an independent test institute for our PTFE products.

The analyses of this test institute are conclusive and certify that our PTFE products are not only below the applicable limits with regard to the perfluorinated compounds now prohibited in the EU but even below the detection limit for these substances. They can therefore be classed as marketable with regard to the detected perfluorinated compounds (with reference to directive (EC) 1907/2006 and directive (EU) 2019/1021). You can therefore continue to use our products safely.

On request, we would be pleased to provide you with the test reports. You will also find our latest REACh conformity certificate here.