Solvay Solexis Introduces a Substitute for PFOA in Algoflon® Production

19 Nov 2009 • by Natalie Aster

Solvay Solexis, one of the leaders in fluoropolymer production, announces its plan for the production of a substitute of PFOA. PFOA, (PerFluoroOctanoate, Ammonium) is a chemical used up to now by Solvay Solexis and other companies as "surfactant" in the production process of certain grades of Algoflon® PTFE fluoropolymers. Solvay Solexis never produced PFOA.

This action is in full alignment with the plan for the reduction of PFOA use and emissions that the Company started already in 2002. This was well before joining voluntarily the PFOA Stewardship program launched in US by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 2006. The adhesion to the EPA program commits to a 95% decrease of PFOA environmental emissions and content in the products within 2010, taking year 2000 as the baseline, and to a total elimination of PFOA use by 2015.

According to the current schedule Solvay Solexis had already reached in 2008 a total reduction of PFOA emissions of about 89 % vs. year 2000 baseline, and will reach a 95% reduction goal in 2010. By 2012, the Company will completely eliminate the use and emissions of PFOA, three years before the expected deadline.

"Although there is to date no evidence of adverse effects related to PFOA for the human health, this voluntary initiative is a step aligned with the commitment of the Solvay Group in general and of Solvay Solexis in particular, to Sustainable Development", says Pierre Joris, Managing Director of Solvay Solexis .

In the recent years, PFOA, with other fluorinated materials, has been detected at very low concentrations in the blood of the general population in various countries and in the wildlife. The origin and the mechanisms by which it entered the environment are still the subject of a number of ongoing studies but this led to the commitment to reduce the exposure of workers and the emissions into the environment as far and as quick as possible while working towards the development of appropriate substitutes and the total elimination of PFOA no later than 2015. PFOA is an essential polymerization aid used till now in very small quantities for the manufacturing of fluoropolymers. Solvay Solexis pledges that the new surfactant will maintain the excellent performances of all its Algoflon® PTFE grades, combining Sustainability with a forefront Research, while further reducing the environmental impact of its operations.

Source: SpecialChem

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