After the results of the European elections, where the presidential political party lost a significant number of seats at the European Parliament, the president of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron decided to dissolve the National Assembly. This dissolution was effected by the presidential “Decree of June 9, 2024 dissolving the National Assembly“, which was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic on June 10, 2024.  

At the time of the dissolution, several projects and proposals of laws were pending adoption within the French Parliament and the question of the status of these texts was scrutinized by the media shortly after the dissolution. Particular concern was raised by certain media articles about the consequences of the dissolution on pending environmental legislation, including the proposed legislation to protect the population from risks linked to Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (“PFAS“) (the “Proposed PFAS Law”).

The Proposed PFAS Law had drawn quite substantial public attention as, if enacted, France would become the first EU Member State to heavily prohibit PFAS in products. The Proposed PFAS Law was also developed in parallel to the development of a PFAS restriction at the EU level, which drew criticism from industry bodies and some French parliament representatives.

What is the status of the Proposed PFAS Law and what does it say?

The Proposed PFAS Law was initially tabled at the French National Assembly in February 2024. It was adopted by the French National Assembly at first reading in April 2024, and was subsequently amended and adopted by the Senate in May 2024. The text of the Proposed PFAS Law came back to the French National Assembly for a second reading on May 30, 2024. However, the dissolution interrupted the normal process.

In its current form, from January1, 2026, the Proposed PFAS Law will prohibit the manufacture, import, export and placing on the market, whether in return for payment or free of charge, of:

  • any cosmetic product containing PFAS;
  • any ski wax product containing PFAS;
  • all textile clothing products containing PFAS; and
  • footwear and waterproofing agents containing PFAS in textile and footwear products intended for consumers, excluding those intended for personal protection, in particular for national defense or civil security.

From January 1, 2030, the scope of the prohibition will extend to the manufacture, import, export and placing on the market of all textile products containing PFAS, excluding: (1) textile products necessary for essential uses; (2) those contributing to the exercise of national sovereignty and for which there is no alternative solution available; and (3) those technical textiles for industrial use, the list of which is yet to be specified.

A general derogation was introduced by the Senate so that the prohibition does not affect products containing PFAS in concentrations less than or equal to a residual value to be defined by decree.

The Proposed PFAS Law includes additional measures, such as a tax for operators of industrial facilities releasing PFAS in the environment amounting to 100 euros per hundred grams of PFAS released.

What does the dissolution mean for the Proposed PFAS Law?

Article 12 of the French Constitution is silent on the effects of the dissolution on texts under discussions within the French Parliament.

According to the Directorate of legal and administrative information of the French Government, “the dissolution of the National Assembly announced by the President of the Republic on June 9, 2024 leads to the interruption of all current legislative work, pending the election of new representatives on June 30 and July 7.”

This means that although the legislative process is interrupted, the work done so far by the National Assembly and the Senate on the Proposed PFAS Law is not necessarily lost. Once the National Assembly is renewed, it will be necessary for the Proposed PFAS Law to be introduced again to the new National Assembly (see article 81 of the National Assembly Regulation). Thereafter, the Proposed PFAS Law will be discussed by the newly formed National Assembly, which could adopt the Proposed PFAS Law in its current form, adopt the Proposed PFAS Law with further modifications or reject the Proposed PFAS Law.

It can be expected that the text of the Proposed PFAS Law will be further examined by the National Assembly after the election. Indeed, the representative of the Green Party, Nicolas Thierry, who is at the initiative of this proposal and is seeking re-election, has announced that “in the event he is re-elected, his priority will be to go through the legislative process of the proposed PFAS law”. Moreover, the program of the new Front Populaire, which according to a recent pool is credited for about 28% of the voting intention, includes “the ban of PFAS for all uses”.

What is unclear, however, is whether a majority of representatives of the National Assembly will vote in favor of the proposed PFAS law. This will very much depend on the composition of the next National Assembly which, according to the latest polls, is likely to change substantially after the election.