Ban on eternal pollutants: kitchen utensils excluded from the bill, strong reactions on the left

Ban on eternal pollutants: kitchen utensils excluded from the bill, strong reactions on the left

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MPs on Thursday began examining a bill aimed at restricting the manufacture and sale of products containing PFAS (for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). During the debates, elected officials spoke out in favor of excluding kitchen utensils from the scope of the law, after strong mobilization this week from manufacturersto the great dismay of the left.

Massively present in everyday life (Teflon pans, food packaging, textiles, automobiles, etc.), these substances owe their nickname to their very long life cycle and, for some, to their harmful effect on health.

Unanimously adopted in committee last week, the bill presented by ecologist Nicolas Thierry, the first of eight texts from his group within the framework of his parliamentary niche, ultimately sparked lively debates.

The majority had proposed to postpone the ban on these products from 2026 to 2030. Against the advice of the government, the deputies voted in favor of maintaining the main article, which provides for a ban on the manufacture, import, export and placing on the market of certain products containing it. But they excluded kitchen utensils from the scope of this ban, after the failure of a compromise on the subject, causing a strong reaction on the left.

“Allow everyone to be poisoned”

“Once again”, the majority allied to LR and the RN will have “given in to the lobbying of (the manufacturer) Seb, to the detriment of the health of the French. It’s a shame,” reacted the environmentalist deputies. “Removing kitchen utensils from the PFAS ban law means allowing the poisoning of everyone, children, pregnant women, all those who cannot change their utensils when they are scratched, the most precarious, at every meal,” deplored on X the deputy Sandrine Rousseau.

The kitchenware manufacturer Seb sounded the alarm this week about the threat that such a law would pose to some 3,000 jobs at the Seb factories in Rumilly (Haute-Savoie) and Tournus (Saône-et-Loire). which notably manufacture Tefal stoves. But “we have lost 2 million industrial jobs in recent decades in France (…) Who is going to make us believe that all of this is the fault of ecology? », Launched LFI deputy François Ruffin in the hemicycle.

Like Gabriel Attal on Wednesday, the Minister of Industry Roland Lescure defended Thursday in his introductory remarks the need to act at the European level to ban the use of certain PFAS, drawing on the European regulation on chemicals Reach. “Restrictions have already been put in place (in Europe) and bans will be advocated, pronounced shortly,” he argued, ruling out, however, the idea of ​​a general ban.

In particular, polytetrafluoroethene (PTFE) which is used for stoves “is very likely one of the PFAS which will be judged as non-dangerous” by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), he argued. He recalled France’s support for the approach of five European countries, which have submitted a file to this agency with a view to a proposed broad ban on PFAS.

He recalled in passing the broad outlines of an action plan presented Thursday by the government. It makes it possible to “coordinate all administrations to extend the campaign of measures, to reduce discharges as quickly as possible, to clean up the environment with 26 actions, a pilot administration each time to ensure accountability,” he said.

A “serious health risk”

The rapporteur Nicolas Thierry reminded him in his introductory remarks of the “massive” nature of exposure to PFAS, and the “serious health risk” that it represents, emphasizing that the proposed restriction at European level is “necessary » but “not enough”. He rejected a strategy of distinguishing between “good” and “bad” PFAS, emphasizing that the persistence of perennial pollutants “is enough to classify them as substances of concern.”

Its text proposed in the version received by the Assembly to ban from January 1, 2026 all kitchen utensils, cosmetic products, wax product (for skis) or textile clothing product containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, with the exception of protective clothing for security and civil safety professionals.

All textiles would be affected by the ban from January 1, 2030. The packaging sector has been excluded from the scope of the law, to the extent that a European regulation must “very soon” regulate it more strictly. Other measures, the obligation to control the presence of PFAS in drinking water throughout the country and the application of the polluter pays principle with a tax targeting manufacturers who emit it.



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