Summary: A family of chemicals known as PFAS, often called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment, are used in many household products and have been linked to certain cancers. The Protections from Forever Chemicals Act would ban their use in children’s products and disposable food packaging.
In October 2021, the Biden Administration announced plans to address the problem of PFAS chemicals, but in the meantime, there is much that states can do. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two laws in October 2021 banning the use of these “forever chemicals.”
The Protections against Forever Chemicals Act is based on those two California laws, AB 652 (2021) and AB 1200 (2021).
The findings come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Protections from Forever Chemicals Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature/council finds that:
1) The per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.
2) Fluoropolymer coatings can be in a variety of products, including clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, and the insulation of electrical wire.
3) Many PFAS, including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), do not break down in the environment, can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources, and build up (bioaccumulate) in fish and wildlife.
4) CDC scientists found four PFAS (PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS or perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, and PFNA or perfluorononanoic acid) in the serum of nearly all of the people tested.
5) Studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS indicate that some PFAS may affect growth and development; these animal studies indicate PFAS may affect reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and injure the liver.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect the health and safety of the environment and all people in the state.
SECTION 3. CERTAIN USES OF PFAS CHEMICALS PROHIBITED
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) DEFINITIONS—In this section:
1) “Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances” or “PFAS” means a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.
2) “Regulated perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances” or “regulated PFAS” means either of the following:
(a) PFAS that a manufacturer has intentionally added to a product and that have a functional or technical effect in the product, including, but not limited to, the PFAS components of intentionally added chemicals and PFAS that are intentional breakdown products of an added chemical that also have a functional or technical effect in the product; or
(b) The presence of PFAS in a product or product component at or above 100 parts per million, as measured in total organic fluorine.
3) “Juvenile product” means a product designed for use by infants and children under 12 years of age, including, but not limited to, a baby or toddler foam pillow, bassinet, bedside sleeper, booster seat, changing pad, child restraint system for use in motor vehicles and aircraft, co-sleeper, crib mattress, floor playmat, highchair, highchair pad, infant bouncer, infant carrier, infant seat, infant sleep positioner, infant swing, infant travel bed, infant walker, nap cot, nursing pad, nursing pillow, playmat, playpen, play yard, polyurethane foam mat, pad, or pillow, portable foam nap mat, portable infant sleeper, portable hook-on chair, soft-sided portable crib, stroller, and toddler mattress.
“Juvenile product” does not include any of the following:
(a) A children’s electronic product, including, but not limited to, a personal computer, audio and video equipment, calculator, wireless phone, game console, handheld device incorporating a video screen, or any associated peripheral such as a mouse, keyboard, power supply unit, or power cord;
(b) A medical device as defined in subsection (h) of Section 321 of Title 21 of the United States Code; or
(c) An internal component of a juvenile product that would not come into direct contact with a child’s skin or mouth during reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product.
(d) An adult mattress.
4) “Food packaging” means a nondurable package, packaging component, or food service ware that is intended to contain, serve, store, handle, protect, or market food, foodstuffs, or beverages, and is comprised, in substantial part, of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibers. “Food packaging” includes food or beverage containers, take-out food containers, unit product boxes, liners, wrappers, serving vessels, eating utensils, straws, food boxes, and disposable plates, bowls, or trays.
(B) SAFETY OF CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS
1) On and after July 1, 2023, a person, including, but not limited to, a manufacturer, shall not sell or distribute in commerce in this state any new, not previously owned, juvenile product that contains regulated PFAS chemicals.
2) A manufacturer shall use the least toxic alternative when replacing PFAS chemicals in a juvenile product to comply with this section.
(C) SAFETY IN FOOD PACKAGING
1) On and after January 1, 2023, no person shall distribute, sell, or offer for sale in the state any food packaging that contains regulated perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.
2) A manufacturer shall use the least toxic alternative when replacing regulated perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS in food packaging to comply with this section.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.