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Threaded Flange

Threaded flanges are probably the most recognisable of all flanges due to their screw thread design that is used to connect it to the pipe. Threaded flanges, also known as screwed flanges (for obvious reasons), require a male and female thread to create a connection...

Slip On Flange

A slip-on flange can also be known as a hubbed flange, which, as the name suggests, has a hub with a very low profile. Why is this important? Because this type of ring type joint gasket has an internal diameter larger than the connecting pipe, allowing you to slide it...

Weld Neck Flange

Also known as tapered hub flanges or high hub flanges, weld neck flanges are a specific type of gasket with a protruding ridge and long neck used to connect pipework and provide you with a high-quality seal. Weld neck flanges, in particular, are a popular choice when...

Nitrile vs Viton® – What is the Difference?

As you start to make a decision about what type of O-rings to purchase for your business, you might wonder what material is the most suitable for your unique needs. Every business operation has different requirements for their O-rings, such as the temperature,...

Aflas vs Viton

When it comes to choosing O ring suppliers in the UK, you’ll find that there are a wide range of materials on offer for you to choose from. Many people find that the options can seem quite overwhelming, with some materials having similar properties but offering...

EPDM Gasket

Both the automotive and construction industries have started to use EPDM gaskets more frequently in recent times. This rubber material is UV light resistant and has many fantastic properties that make this part highly effective for a wide range of processes. Keep...

Metal Gaskets

When comparing gaskets for use within your business processes, you’ll find that these can be made from a variety of materials. Metal gaskets are a very popular option, offering many advantages over other materials. When looking at sealing product options, make sure...

AFLAS o ring

O rings come in many different dimensions, thicknesses, and materials. And it is the various different materials that o rings can be manufactured from that make each o ring unique and suitable for specific applications. In fact, there are hundreds of different types...

O Ring Vulcanization Process

With years of o ring knowledge and experience in o ring vulcanization, we're one of the leading experts in providing the right sealing solution for you. To view our full range, visit our O-ring product page, with a wide selection and something to match every...

What is a Window Seal?

A window seal is something that nearly all of us will have seen in our homes or workplaces and is designed to help make your building more comfortable. Within our range of Sealing Specialist Products, we offer a selection of window seals designed for various...

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PFAS for sealing – good or bad

PFAS for sealing – good or bad

PFAS is a big topic for conversation worldwide.  

At SSP UK Ltd, we’re monitoring these conversations closely and looking at how the proposed regulations and legislation will affect the sealing industry now and in the future. 

PFAS is a diverse group of chemicals that incorporate a number of harmful and hazardous substances, alongside non-hazardous and safe for use chemicals. 

Today, PFAS is often the material of choice for manufacturing various everyday products. For example, PFAS agents can prevent food from sticking to cookware, provide stain resistance on carpets, are highly effective for use in firefighting foam, and much more. 

Due to its flexibility in use, you will find PFAS in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, and the military. 

However, for all PFAS is a highly effective agent for many products and applications, there are numerous health concerns associated with its use and some toxic chemicals included in its makeup. For example, you can find traces of PFAS chemicals in drinking water and EU soils, which can negatively impact people’s health.  

As such, reviews on the use of PFAS are now underway, examining the results of the harmful effect it can have on people’s health due to sustained use and over-exposure.

What does PFAS stand for?

PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl and includes over 4,700 manufactured chemicals.  

PFAS provides unique chemical and physical properties, including oil and water repellency, temperature, and chemical resistance. 

Production and use of PFAS have resulted in contamination of everyday drinking water, paper packaging within the food and drinks industry, cosmetics, textiles, furniture, and more.

PFAS chemicals

One of the most common classes of PFAS is fluoropolymers, which are used across many sectors and can be an essential component for numerous applications. This is because the properties of fluoropolymers make them fire, weather, temperature, and chemical resistant.  

They also have non-sticking and non-wetting properties, making them extremely versatile in the sealing and gasket industry. 

However, we are aware of ongoing conversations that propose implementing specific restrictions on PFAS, including banning its use in all non-essential applications and consumer use. 

Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway are leading the way in implementing a blanket ban on chemicals, asking REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation, and restriction of chemicals) to consider and impose a set of restrictions on its use and volume of use.

PFAS in sealing and gaskets

Sealing solutions are critical to many sectors and applications, and those seals that contain PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) provide numerous benefits.   

Used in seal valves in pressurised applications, these PTFE seals ultimately prevent leaks from occurring and potentially harmful gases from escaping. 

Ultimately, PTFE seals can prevent leaks at a rate of almost zero, making them an essential sealing component in preventing harmful gases from escaping and supporting climate change. 

PTFE, in this sense, cannot simply be replaced in sealing applications as other agents currently available do not offer the same levels of safety and high performance. 

In addition, reputable and responsible manufacturers of PTFE do proactively remove PFOA from processes to ensure its safe use in applications. This has been a priority and objective for many years across the sector.  

However, we are aware that all PFAS are different. And, in this sense, we should treat each element differently; it cannot be as simple as imposing such a broad restriction as proposed, and exceptions are to be considered throughout the new proposals. 

Especially as currently, there are no alternatives on the market that offer the same high-performance levels and levels of safety, which can pose more risks and problems to applications and products in the long run. 

Breaking down these restrictions into hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals by name will be key in supporting the seal and gasket industry in the future.

PFAS in the UK

Currently, PFAS in the UK is a concern and priority, but no such reviews are currently underway regarding the wide-scale ban. However, staying abreast of decisions made by EU member states and the impact these will have on the UK will be key. 

The impact of these reviews and ultimately the outcome could be huge for the gasket and sealing industry; hence feedback is actively being sought on this subject across all industry sectors, and those who are affected are encouraged to get involved and have their say. 

Combining all PFAS into one legislation or regulation does not help support the wider industry and can do more harm than good. Instead, we widely believe that we can make more efficiencies and innovations by regulating them as individual chemicals. 

For further information on a range of sealings and sealing products, call our team today on 01535 274 776 or email us at sales@specialistsealingproducts.co.uk.

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