C6O4, Solvay’s next-generation fluorosurfactant
C6O4: Leading scientific studies demonstrate safer profile of Solvay’s next-generation fluorosurfactant
Eight scientific studies carried out by leading Italian academic institutions and accepted by international technical-scientific publications (peer-reviewed) confirmed the safer profile of C6O4 compared to other fluorosurfactants. C6O4 is the next-generation proprietary fluorosurfactant that Solvay uses as polymerization aid in the production of some fluoropolymers, in a transition phase to its new, non-fluorosurfactant technologies. This molecule, which is neither bioaccumulative nor biopersistent, has entirely replaced PFOA since 2013 at Spinetta Marengo (Italy) site, well in advance of the recommendations introduced at the international level.
C6O4 is registered under the EU’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. As part of this registration process, more than 30 studies were performed to assess its toxicological and environmental profile. These studies were carried out by external private European laboratories in compliance with the GLP (Good Laboratory Practices). Scientific research continues in collaboration with leading academic institutions, to deepen scientific knowledge about C6O4.
Update on recent relevant scientific studies
- In September 2022, an important study was published in Chemical Research in Toxicology by a team of researchers from the University of Padua - including Prof. Carlo Foresta - in collaboration with Ca Foscari University in Venice. The study concludes that, from the point of view of biopersistence, C6O4 has better characteristics than other surfactants from the PFAS family of chemicals analyzed.
- Subsequent research conducted by the University of Padua - and published in Summer 2022 in Frontiers of Endocrinology - confirmed that C6O4 had no damaging effect on the thyroid gland, and highlighted the molecule as a safer toxicological profile to old-generation PFOA.
- A further study published in December 2022 demonstrates with further experimental evidence that C6O4 does not cause any effects possibly associated with toxicity in the cells of human dopaminergic neurons. In addition, a previously published study in 2021 had already demonstrated the absence of C6O4 in the human brain in potentially exposed subjects.
- A University of Torino research team supports the non-bioaccumulative and non-biopersistent nature of C6O4, as reported in the peer-reviewed article they published in June 2022 in the Toxicology Journal. The study revealed the mechanisms underlying the observed short half-life of C6O4 explained by its rapid elimination through urine.
- The safety profile of C6O4 with regard to the thyroid function is demonstrated in the groundbreaking work by the University of Pavia published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation which concluded that the “new-generation C6O4 does not produce adverse effects on thyroid cells in vitro.”
More recently, in January 2023, a study on the biological monitoring of workers at the two Spinetta Marengo and Bollate sites over the period 2004-2021 was published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health. This work carried out at the University of Milan and Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, provides preliminary indications that C6O4 does not bioaccumulate in the blood of workers. The low bioaccumulative profile has been recently confirmed by the study published in Toxics in March 2023, demonstrating a short half-life of a few days in human blood.