International efforts are being made to phase out perfluorinated chemicals of concern and replace them with safer alternatives.
They are widely used, because of their moisture-repelling properties, to protect products such as carpets and textiles. They are also used in some fi re fighting foams, plastics, cosmetics and electronics.
NICNAS represents Australia on the OECD Steering Group on Perfluorinated Chemicals which also includes Canada, US, Sweden, Germany, the European Union, representatives from industry and other non-government groups.
It is charged with implementing recommendations arising from the OECD Workshop on perfluorocarboxylic acids and precursors held in 2006 in Stockholm.
The group is investigating the format for an OECD survey to be taken in 2009 on production, import and use of perfluorinated chemicals to assist collection of reliable data. Australia was thanked for its lead role in the previous two surveys undertaken by the OECD.