Perfluoroalkyl substances, or short PFAS, have been ubiquitous in our daily lives, providing water-resistant
coatings for everything from pizza boxes to outdoor clothing. However, their extensive use has come at a
significant environmental and health cost. In response, the European Union is leading the charge in developing
alternatives, with projects like ZeroF, which our partner, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC,
highlights in its latest press release.
PFAS: A Double-Edged Sword
PFAS, known for their remarkable resistance to water and oil, have found their way into diverse products.
Unfortunately, their durability has led to their persistence in the environment, contaminating groundwater and
entering the food chain. In the EU, over 70% of groundwater monitoring wells contain detectable levels of PFAS.
A study by the "Nordic Council of Ministers" estimates that PFAS-related health costs in the EU exceed 50
billion euros, with around 12,000 deaths directly linked to PFAS exposure.
The EU's Plan: Banning Critical PFAS
To address these issues, the EU Commission is set to ban certain critical PFAS by 2023. While exceptions will be
made for crucial areas like pharmaceuticals and crop protection, transitioning to PFAS-free products is crucial,
especially as PFAS producers plan to withdraw from the European market.
ZeroF: Leading the Charge
ZeroF, one of four flagship projects funded by the EU, is dedicated to developing PFAS-free coatings for food
packaging and textiles. The project, led by 12 outstanding research and industry partners including the
Fraunhofer ISC, faces the challenge of creating water-repellent textile coatings using water-based solutions, a
textile industry requirement. Dr. Claudia Stauch, project manager at Fraunhofer ISC, explains, "The ORMOCER®
coatings, with their hybrid properties, offer an array of solutions for this complex issue." These coatings show
promise in various industrial applications due to their excellent processing, surface, and barrier properties.
Supporting Affected Companies
Transitioning away from PFAS involves not only developing new materials but also gaining industry acceptance. To
help companies currently using PFAS make the shift, researchers from Fraunhofer ISC offer guidance on
implementing eco-friendly and cost-effective PFAS alternatives.
Get Involved: PFAS Workshop on October 12
As part of this initiative, our partner, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, is hosting a PFAS
workshop in Würzburg on October 12. Only a few places are still available. Reserve your place here
In the quest for a safer, more sustainable future, projects like ZeroF are pioneering the development of
PFAS-free solutions for food packaging and textiles. These initiatives address environmental concerns and strive
to safeguard public health, bringing us closer to a PFAS-free world.
Read the full press release published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC on their website.