Alternatives to PFAS

Per- and polyfluorinated chemicals are currently the focus of a great deal of regulatory scrutiny under the acronym "PFAS".
PFAS, also known as "eternity chemicals," are broadly defined as substances that contain at least one fully fluorinated methyl (CF3) or methylene (CF2) carbon atom with no H/Cl/BR/I bonded to it and include well over 10,000 different substances. They are detectable in our environment and bodies indefinitely and, depending on the substance, may cause health problems. PFAS traces are now widely detected in soils and waters.

PFAS substances are very popular in industry because they are thermally and chemically stable and can therefore be used in a wide variety of applications. From firefighting foams to coatings, packaging, paints, pesticides and medical devices, PFAS substances can be found in many different applications.
Fluoropolymers processed at Ensinger, such as PTFE and PVDF, also fall under this current broad definition.

On March 23, 2023, the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) published a proposal for the fundamental restriction of PFASs, which is to be regulated via the EU chemicals regulation REACH. The importation of PFAS finished products from non-EU countries would also be affected.
This means that Ensinger products containing fluoropolymers or fluorine-based additives would also be affected by a ban, even though fluoropolymers are classified as harmless polymers according to OECD criteria. For example, there are also PTFE and PVDF grades that are suitable for direct food contact.

A comment period is still open until September 2023, during which interested parties, companies and associations can submit data and views on the restriction proposal to ECHA.

A decision on the extent to which and whether the legislative proposal will be implemented is not expected before mid-2024. From today's perspective, a restriction will come into force in 2025 at the earliest.
However, some PFAS substances (e.g. PFOA) are already regulated by valid EU regulations. Valid declarations of conformity are available on request.

In addition, Ensinger is in close exchange with the relevant raw material suppliers and is intensively monitoring the processes surrounding PFAS regulation in order to be able to react to any significant changes.  
In the production of our engineering plastics such as POM, PA and PET in addition to the high performance plastics PPS, PPSU, PEEK and PI, PTFE or PVDF may be used as additives for specific grades; for PFAS-free alternatives, please contact our application engineering department.

For further questions or declarations of conformity, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Are there PFAS-free plastic alternatives to PTFE & PVDF?

These and similar questions have become more prevalent in our application engineering department recently and unfortunately they cannot be answered in a blanket response. Rather, we recommend that these types of inquiries be researched on an individual, more application-specific basis. Because of the unmatched versatility of most fluropolymers, attention needs to be focused on the properties such as temperature behavior, chemical resistance and mechanical properties for which the material was chosen when considering whether a replacement product is necessary and available. As an example, there is no polymer that has 100% of the  properties of PTFE. Therefore the consideration of any possible replacement of the material will likely involve changes in part design as well. Due to our large selection of different thermoplastics and different manufacturing processes, Ensinger is in a position to explore various alternatives and is looking forward to a consultatory relationship. 

Alternative to PTFE-filled sliding materials

PTFE is also a popular additive in tribological applications. Although there is no direct substitute for PTFE, Ensinger has succeeded in developing an alternative to PTFE-filled sliding materials.
Thanks to a special filler concept that does not require PTFE, excellent friction and wear results can be achieved in various tribological applications.
The plastic compounds are available under the name TECACOMP XS in combination with PPA, PA66, PPS and PEEK.