PORTLAND, OR — September 30, 2022 — Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a first in the nation groundbreaking bill (AB 1817) that explicitly bans the use of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), also known as “forever chemicals,” in many textiles. The policy includes first in the nation bans on PFAS in apparel (both indoor and outdoor), accessories, and handbags starting in 2025. PFAS in outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions will be eliminated as of 2028 and manufacturers will be required to disclose the presence of PFAS in the products as of 2025. The law also directs manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative as they move away from PFAS. In addition, a bill to ban PFAS in apparel is currently awaiting the governor’s signature in New York. And, Washington state is considering similar action on PFAS in apparel via their existing regulatory processes.
Governor Gavin Newsom also signed two other significant bills that help protect people from toxic chemical exposures. These include:
- AB 2771 restricts PFAS in cosmetic products. California now joins Colorado in becoming the second state to pass a state law that explicitly bans the entire class of PFAS in cosmetics.
- SB 502 reforms aspects of California’s Safer Consumer Products program. The new policy will make California’s program more efficient by granting data call-in authority to the program, streamlining processes (including giving the program the authority to regulate on the basis of alternatives analyses published by other governments or in the peer reviewed literature), and setting clear timelines and more transparent work plans.
Health and environmental advocacy organizations from California and states across the country applaud this move and anticipate more government policies to follow. Natural Resources Defense Council, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and Safer States released the following statements in response to this news.
“Californians across the spectrum overwhelmingly support getting PFAS out of everyday products like clothes and textiles,” said Avinash Kar, a senior attorney and director of the Health & Food program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “By making AB 1817 California law, the Governor and the legislature are helping to protect the health and environment of Californians and beyond.”
“An estimated 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, yet manufacturers continue to use unnecessary and toxic PFAS chemicals, which are linked to breast and other cancers, in everyday products, including textiles,” said Nancy Buermeyer, director of program & policy for Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. “This critical bill will protect Californians, and consumers across the nation, from these dangerous chemicals in the clothes and textiles we wear and use in our homes and businesses.”
“California is once again at the forefront of states taking action to stop the flow of toxic PFAS chemicals,” explained Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States. “With one of the largest economies in the nation, California’s chemical policies will have ripple effects across the marketplace.”
Background On PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
Chemical companies sell PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for application to products such as paper and textiles as stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing treatments. PFAS has been linked to serious health problems such as cancer, immune system suppression, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility, and increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS are known as “forever” chemicals because they don’t break down in the environment.
State governments are taking legislative and regulatory actions to phase out PFAS in products to prevent contamination in favor of safer alternatives. For example, laws in ME and WA have given state agencies authority to ban PFAS in a wide range of products. Maine’s law requires product manufacturers to disclose the presence of PFAS. Eleven states (CA, CO, CT, HI, MD, ME, MN, NY, RI, VT, and WA) have enacted state bans on PFAS in food packaging. CO also adopted restrictions on oil and gas products and personal care products. Eleven states including CA, CO, CT, HI, IL, ME, MD, NH, NY, VT, and WA have put in place bans on the sale of firefighting foam containing PFAS. On textiles specifically, five states including CA, CO, ME, MD, and VT have adopted restrictions on PFAS in carpets, rugs, and aftermarket treatments and regulatory action is pending on these products and other home textiles (e.g. upholstery, bedding) in CA and WA. In addition, CO adopted restrictions on indoor and outdoor furniture.
Posted: October 4, 2022
Source: Safer States