To be honest, I wasn't very familiar with the term PFAS before the spring of last year.
Scott Boito of Eastman Chemical was giving a regulatory update at our Hose & Belt Manufacturers Conference. He told attendees that there would be much more focus on PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, and that agencies were using broad definitions aimed at being "all-inclusive of existing and possible future poly-fluorinated substances." His advice was: If you were using PFAS in your materials, it might be time to start looking at alternatives.
Well, he definitely wasn't wrong. Earlier this year, sources started contacting me, urging Rubber News to take a closer look into PFAS.
From the rubber industry's perspective, the story of these "forever chemicals" is one that impacts the fluoroelastomers and fluoropolymer side of the business. As often is the case, the European Union is acting first and in a manner that—depending on how it plays out—could have far-reaching effects within our space for years to come.