Perfluorooctane sulfonates

Legal basis


1. Key points

In accordance with the decisions adopted at the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs Convention, SR 0.814.03) and the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 , the handling of perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS) is prohibited in Switzerland. Exemptions apply for applications where no substitutes for PFOS are available at present. Fire-fighting foams placed on the market before the prohibition entered into force may still be used during a transitional period. In addition, under the POPs Convention, notification requirements apply for applications where use remains permissible.


2. Prohibitions

With effect from 1 August 2011, it is prohibited to manufacture, place on the market or use PFOS, and any substances or preparations containing more than 0.001 % PFOS. New articles may not be placed on the market if the components treated with PFOS contain more than 0.1% PFOS. For textiles and other coated materials, the specified limit is 1 µg/m2 of the coated material.


3. Exemptions

The prohibitions do not apply to:

  • Photoresists and anti-reflective coatings for photolithography processes.
  • Photographic coatings applied to films, papers and printing plates.
  • Mist suppressants for non-decorative hard chromium (VI) plating in closed circulation systems in which the level of PHOS released into the environment is minimised.
  • Hydraulic fluids for use in aviation.

In addition, the prohibitions do not apply to:

  • PFOS and preparations containing PFOS, used to manufacture items which are exempted.
  • PFOS and substances, preparations and articles containing PFOS, used for analysis and research purposes.

Notwithstanding the prohibition, fire-fighting foams containing PFOS placed on the market before 1 August 2011 may be used as follows:

  • In fire safety installations, including use in any functional tests required for such installations, until 30 November 2018.

4. Notification requirements

Each year, anyone who uses PFOS or substances and preparations containing PFOS must report to the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) the name of the substance or preparation, the name of the supplier, the quantity of PFOS used and the amount of PFOS released into the environment during use. The report must also include information on the purpose of use and on potential substitutes for PFOS. Each year, owners of fire-fighting foams must report the amounts of products they hold containing PFOS. The first report must also include the name of the product, the name of the manufacturer and - where this information is available - the concentration of PFOS in the fire-fighting foam.

Reports must be submitted to the FOEN each year, for the first time concerning the 2011 calendar year. The deadline for subsequent submissions is 30 April each year. Please use the appropriate form below for submitting your reports.


5. Notes

  • Within the meaning of the regulations, PFOS are substances with the molecular formula C8F17SO2X, which have one sulfonate group bonded to the perfluorinated carbon chain and which occur with various functional groups, e.g. as an acid (X = OH), metal salt (X = O-M+), sulfonyl halide (X = F) or amide (X = NR2), or as other derivatives including polymers. The limits specified in section above refer to the acid.
  • Fire-fighting foams containing PFOS which can no longer be used must be disposed of as special wastes in accordance with the Ordinance on the Transport of Waste (SR 814.610).

Further information

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Last modification 28.03.2018

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