There is currently legislation and regulatory activities ongoing in the US at a state and national level, and in the European Union through REACH to classify fluoroelastomers as PFAS compounds. This would include fluorocarbon (Viton®, FKM), fluorosilicone (FVMQ), TFE/P (Aflas®) and perfluoroelastomer (FFKM). Fluoroelastomers are used in nearly every industry and application, including fast growing segments such as electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries. There are no direct replacements that can fill certain performance requirements like fluoroelastomers can.
The Facts About Fluoroelastomers
Currently, the PFAS designation in these regulations is classified so broadly that it encompasses more than 10,000 substances. These range from the well-known contaminants in drinking water, PFOA and PFOS, to substances like fluoroelastomers that have large bodies of evidence showing they are non-toxic. This research shows that fluoroelastomers are not bio-available, not toxic, not mobile, do not dissolve in water, and do not degrade into other forms of PFAS. They don’t share the same environmental or toxicological profiles associated with other PFAS compounds.
Supply Chain Disruptions
The supply of fluoroelastomers is already limited by a tight supply chain and the situation has created significant confusion and ambiguity in the marketplace. Manufacturers are rethinking capital capacity increases that are already in progress and for the future. Companies such as 3M have decided to exit all fluoropolymer business by the end of 2025 due to market uncertainty, a lack of viable alternatives, and potential litigation.
The Regulatory Environment
Currently, the REACH classification process in the EU is in the public comment stage. Legislation would go into effect sometime in 2027-2028 if it is enacted with no exceptions for fluoroelastomers. However, many fluoroelastomer producers and companies that use fluoroelastomers in their products and processes are strongly advocating for these exceptions.
What is The Rubber Group Doing and How Can We Help?
- We can help you avoid current fluoroelastomer supply chain issues by providing offsets to 3M based materials.
- We are available to engage in discussions and determine how we can support your business.
- We are staying up to date on all the latest information through our closely knit supply base.
- We are active in the public comment periods for these regulations and are advocating on behalf of our customers.
Technical Sales Director
The Rubber Group
22 Nadeau Dr, Rochester, NH 03867
P: 603 841-2115