New limit values for PFAS in drinking water in Sweden

On January 1, 2023, new Swedish legislation to regulate drinking water came into effect. New limit values for PFAS substances in drinking water were then introduced. The limit values are based, among other things, on the health-based reference value for PFAS-4, reported in 2020 by the European Food Safety Authority, Efsa.

Since 2014, the Swedish Food Agency has urged all Swedish municipalities to investigate whether there are PFAS substances in the drinking water, and to remedy levels that are too high. In the future, these new limit values will make it possible for control authorities to require that drinking water should have less than 4 nanograms per liter drinking water, and that levels above must be lowered.

In the Swedish Food Agency’s new regulations (LIVSFS 2022:12) on drinking water, there are two limit values for PFAS:

• PFAS-4: 4 ng/l

• PFAS-21: 100 ng/l

The limit value for PFAS-4 includes the substances included in Efsa’s health-based guidelines (PFOA, PFNA, PFOS and PFHxS). The limit value for PFAS 21 covers the 20 PFAS substances specified in European Parliament and Council Directive (EU) 2020/2184 as well as 6:2 FTS.

The limit values for PFAS must be applied from 1 January 2026. Until then, there is a transition period during which the limit values can be used as guidance values for when measures need to be taken.

The new regulation (in Swedish) can be downloaded from the Swedish Food Agency’s website: LIVSFS 2022:12

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