Important Information Regarding PFAS and Fluoropolymers

As one of the largest trade associations for the sealing industry, the Fluid Sealing Association focuses on a wide range of activities to serve its member companies. All the FSA’s activities link back to its Mission Statement: “Our mission is to be recognized as the primary source of technical information; to influence and support the development of related standards and to provide education in the fluid sealing area. To promote a safe, clean environment for society and a safe workplace for our employees. To monitor the economic, environmental and social changes which may impact our membership’s business and to maintain a forum for the exchange of this information.”

The outward facing activities that the end-users most often see are the on-line and in-person training programs and technical articles in various trade magazines on the use, selection and benefits of a wide variety of sealing devices. But just as important but perhaps a lesser-known activity is the education and technical input on sealing devices that our Government Affairs Committee provides to our legislators and regulators. This committee’s goal is to ensure that relevant, up to date and information is provided to those people developing rules and regulations that may relate to or be affected by sealing devices. In the past, the FSA has worked to educate policy makers, legislators in both the US House & Senate, and regulators at the US EPA and Environment Canada on the sealing technologies available from our members that can be used to greatly reduce the emissions of methane from various industrial sources.

More recently, our Government Affairs Committee has been turning its attention towards the intensifying scrutiny by various organizations over the use of a class of chemicals called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) which are man-made chemicals that do not occur in nature that have been found to accumulate in humans and wildlife. The PFAS category covers a wide range of materials of which fluoropolymers are just one class. Fluoropolymer materials are ubiquitous in our day to day lives. Fluoropolymers are used by most if not all sealing device manufacturers due to their unique and extremely useful properties. Fluoropolymers are very stable materials (physically, chemically & biologically) that do not break down into other PFAS materials, and fluoropolymers do not have viable alternatives with the same properties.

There is no doubt that the effects of the full range of PFAS’s should be analyzed and that appropriate and meaningful regulations put into place for them. The challenge is to make sure those regulations are clear and concise, not blanket regulations that throw the baby out with the bathwater and ban all PFAS. As an example, several congressional activities have proposed classifying all PFAS as hazardous substances which is simply not correct. Fluoropolymers are PFAS, and not all PFAS chemicals are hazardous. The goal of the FSA’s Government Affairs committee would be to help educate legislators and regulators on the safety and value of fluoropolymers which have such a wide range of uses in our society today. Join the FSA, participate in our Government Affairs Committee and add your voice to the discussion.

For further information on joining the FSA, please email info@fluidsealing.com.

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