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Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in Electronics

PFAS Compliance

Hazardous substances are present in many household and industrial electronic products. These molecules are concerning for human health and the environment. Consequently, an encreasing number of environmental regulations are seeking to restrict the use of Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in electronics.

How can you Verify Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances in Electronics?

Audit your Supply Chain

Look at your PFAS and/or your fluorine content. You can accomplish this using:

Perform Risk Assessments

Evaluate the likelihood and potential consequences of exposure to PFAS in electronics. Based on the results of the risk assessment, appropriate risk management strategies can be developed and implemented.

Target Analytical Testing

When necessary, a plan can be developed to use of specific analytical methods to identify and measure the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in electronics. This testing can be targeted towards specific components or products that are suspected to contain PFAS, or it can be more comprehensive to evaluate the entire manufacturing process.

What are PFAS?

First, Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances , or PFAS, are synthetically made molecules containing at least one fully fluorinated methyl or methylene group without any hydrogens or halogens directly bonded. Thousands exist, but common examples include:

  • PFOA
  • PFOS
  • PTFE
PFOA Molecule

Where do we find Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances in Electronics?

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in Electronics

Common applications of PFAS in electronics include:

  • Semiconductors
  • Printed circuit board assemblies
  • Computer hard drives
  • Metal plating applications.

What are the Hazards of Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in Electronics?

CLP Regulation

The problem with PFAS is their persistence in the environment and the bioaccumulation that can occur in the human body.

In fact, carbon-fluorine bonds are among the strongest and do not break down easily. This can lead to long-term exposure risks.

They are often referred to as “forever chemicals” for this exact reason. Namely, they’ve been linked to a variety of health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • increased cholesterol levels
  • The disruption of the reproductive and developmental processes

How are PFAS and Electronics Regulated?

There are two types of control:

  • Reportable PFAS
  • Restricted PFAS

Reportable PFAS

Reportable poly-fluoroalkyl substances in electronics only apply to PFAS that are intentionally added, like PFOA under EU REACH.


Restricted PFAS

Restricted poly-fluoroalkyl substances in electronics apply to long-chain PFAS like PFOA, and they’re restricted due to their persistence and toxicity concerns.

For example, EU REACH Annex XVII Entry 65 and EU POP both fall into this category.

TSCA : 5 restricted substances in Products

Do you Need to Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances in Electronics?

There may be alternative options to the use of regulated PFAS.

Request your free consultation with Enviropass today!