Professors Ian Cousins and Jonathan Benskin from the Department of Environmental Science are involved in the new project POPFREE Industri that brings together 22 actors committed to collaborate with the industry in phasing out fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS as well as finding alternatives. Led by the RISE Research Institute of Sweden and funded by Vinnova, the project aims to develop a plan for establishing a competence center that will support companies in the phasing-out work.
Research into the negative health- and environmental effects caused by PFAS has increased over the years. One of the major issues with PFAS is that they do not degrade when they end up in the environment, which means that the amount of PFAS will continue to increase until we stop manufacturing and using them. Many companies have committed to phasing out PFAS and are prepared to comply with future regulations.
“I see great value in the collaboration across academia and industry to include several steps in the supply and value chain. We will need help to cope with this and more players are welcome to join POPFREE Industri,” says Lisa Skedung, Project Manager at RISE.
Today, only a small number of PFAS are regulated, but the European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy, published in October 2020, highlights the need to phase out PFAS as a group. The Swedish Chemicals Agency is working together with its counterparts in Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany to develop a proposal that will cover all non-essential use of PFAS. More and more consumers and companies have begun to question the use of PFAS and many call for their phase-out. Hence, the establishment of a competence centre has attracted great interest.
The project partners of POPFREE Industri are: Apoteket AB, Bagaren och Kocken AB, Biltema Nordic Services AB, BRAV Norway AS, Cervera, ChemSec, ClasOhlson AB, Houdini Sportswear AB, IKEA of Sweden AB, iPinium AB, Kemikalieinspektionen, Nordic Paper Seffle AB, Order Nordic AB, Ragn-Sellsföretagen AB, Rusta AB, Stena Recycling International AB, Stockholm University, Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions AB, Umeå University, Volvo Car Corporation and Zound Industries International AB. The companies involved are expected to both advance their own phasing-out work and contribute to a long-term plan for the proposed competence center.
“POPFREE Industri will enable the ambitions of the Chemicals Strategy to become an on-the-ground reality, supporting the movement towards a zero pollution, toxic-free environment,” says Ian Cousins, Professor at the Department of Environmental Science.