PFAS Bans, Restrictions Go Into Effect in States in 2023
Laws and regulations restricting “forever chemicals” in more than a half dozen states are entering effect in 2023, including the start of a timeline for a first-in-the-nation ban on PFAS in all products in Maine.
The newly effective measures range from labeling requirements to bans of the substance in products including food packaging, firefighting foam, and personal care products.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that don’t naturally break down, and so they accumulate in water, soil, and in the human body. Studies have shown that high levels increase the risk of cancer and other adverse health effects.
Now in Effect
LD 1503 bans intentionally added PFAS from all products of any kind sold in the state, broken up with intermediate deadlines designed to allow industry to adapt.
The first mandate took effect Jan. 1, requiring a PFAS phaseout for rugs, carpets, and fabric treatments. The state law aims to ban the substance in products across the board by 2030, except when their use is unavoidable. The law’s approach is similar to the “essential use” concept for PFAS restrictions in the EU.
More sweeping is a reporting requirement for all companies to report or make public the amount of and purpose of PFAS added to any products, with no exemptions yet granted by the state.
That’s left many companies concerned about compliance, according to John Gardella—shareholder of CMBG3 Law—who said that uncertainty and confusion could arise over the state law’s use of the words “intentionally added PFAS” and its exemption for “unavoidable” uses of the substances.
“In the perhaps not too distant future, when products liability lawsuits start—in other words, this particular consumer good caused me an ill health effect and therefore you need to compensate me—there’s going to be a database full of potential targets for litigation,” Gardella said.
Bloomberg Law, 04-01-23