State Legislatures Take the Lead on Turning off Tap on Toxic Chemicals

2020-02-05

~qPFAS, Toxic Flame Retardants and Chemical Disclosure Top Issues for States

States are stepping up to protect public health from harmful chemicals, according to an analysis by Safer States. The analysis found that at least 29 states will consider more than 180 policies to require companies to disclose what is in their products as well as limit exposures to toxic chemicals. These policies include bans on PFAS in food packaging and firefighting foam as well as bans on toxic flame retardants in electronics. The analysis, including a searchable database, is available online at SaferStates.org/bill-tracker

According to Safer States’ analysis, here are some of the policies states will consider in 2020:

Restricting PFAS and other chemicals in food packaging: At least 13 states will consider policy to eliminate or reduce PFASs in food packaging. PFASs are industrial chemicals used in nonstick coatings on food packaging like microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers. They have been shown to cause cancer and organ damage as well as interfere with normal development and limit the efficacy of vaccines. The chemicals don’t stay in the food packaging, but instead move into the food where we are exposed when we eat. Studies also show that when PFAS-coated food packaging is composted or landfilled, the chemicals get into the environment. States considering bans include: AZ, CT, IA, HI, MA, MN, NH, NY, NJ, NC, RI, VA, VT

Restricting PFAS in firefighting foam: At least 12 states will consider policy to address the use of PFAS in firefighting foam including bans, restrictions and mandatory take-back programs. In the last two years, Washington, Colorado and New Hampshire have passed bans on PFAS in firefighting foams in their states while both the military and the FAA have been directed by Congress to stop using PFAS-based firefighting foams. Firefighters have been calling on states and regulators to eliminate all PFAS from foams and are working hand-in-hand with impacted communities and advocates on this issue. States considering legislation addressing PFAS in firefighting foam include: AK, CA, CT, IA, IL, MD, ME, MI, NC, VT, WA, WI

Addressing PFAS in drinking water: Beyond regulating PFAS in firefighting foam at least 21 states will consider policy to limit levels of PFAS in drinking water, as well as fund cleanup of contaminated drinking water and testing.  States considering actions include: AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV

Holding polluters accountable: Millions of Americans are dealing with drinking water contaminated with PFAS chemicals and states are spending millions of dollars to deal with cleaning up pollution. From medical monitoring legislation to lawsuits, the following states are taking action to hold polluters accountable: MI, NH, VT, WI

Banning flame retardants from furniture, kids products, mattresses and electronics: At least 11 states will consider policy to eliminate toxic flame retardants from residential furniture, children’s products, and mattresses. A few states will move to regulate these harmful chemicals in electronics. States considering restrictions include: AK, AZ, DE, IA, MA, MD, NY, TN, VA, WA and WV

Identification and disclosure of toxic chemicals: At least 8 states will consider policy to identify chemicals of concern and/or require makers of consumer products to disclose their use of these chemicals. State disclosure laws help provide policymakers with an understanding of how people are exposed to chemicals from products, with particular recognition of greater exposures among low-income communities and communities of color. These laws also inform consumers about their buying choices and help manufacturers identify chemicals to eliminate in their products. Disclosure bills being considered will address various product sectors including personal care products and fragrances, electronics, and disclosure of toxics in products designed for pregnant women and/or children. States considering actions include: AK, CA, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, VT

Since 2003, more than 35 states have adopted 196 policies that establish state chemicals programs, identify, limit or ban the use of harmful chemicals in products including baby bottles, furniture, electronics, toys, cosmetics and cleaning products. 

The complete analysis is available online at saferstates.org/bill-tracker

Safer States,05 February 2020
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