New Laws In California Aim To Curb PFAS In Some Uses

In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a strategic roadmap for confronting PFAS contamination with polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution and PPB Newslink reported on it here. PFAS, sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals” as they don’t break down naturally and have been shown to pose a health risk to humans, are often found in materials designed to be stain-resistant, non-stick or waterproof. California is taking its own steps to deal with the issue and last month, Gov. Newsom signed bills that banned the use of PFAS substances in certain children's products and paper-based food packaging.

The new California laws also include chemical disclosure requirements for cookware manufacturers, and the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is also moving to identify PFAS substances used on converted textiles or leathers and nail products containing toluene as priority products under the Safer Consumer Products program; a priority product is a consumer product identified by the DTSC that contains one or more chemicals identified as a hazard under its lists.

According to the California AB 652 Assembly Analysis report, PFAS exposure may lead to serious health complications such as changes in liver enzymes, increased cholesterol levels, decreased infant birth weights, increased risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women and increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer. Adverse health effects in children may include impaired kidney function, delayed onset of menstruation and decreased immune response.

Assembly Bill 652, which Gov. Newsom signed into law on October 5, prohibits a person, including a manufacturer, from selling or distributing specific juvenile products containing regulated PFAS. The new law also requires that manufacturers use the least toxic alternative when replacing PFAS chemicals in a juvenile product.

Assembly Bill 1200, also signed on October 5, and known as the California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act of 2021, bans the use of PFAS in California paper-based food packaging. Beginning July 1, 2023, PFAS will be prohibited from use in certain paper-based food containing materials. AB 1200 also requires that beginning January 1, 2023, manufacturers of cookware must disclose the presence of intentionally added chemicals identified on the designated authoritative chemical lists referenced by the DTSC in its Safer Consumer Products program. Additionally, starting January 1, 2023, the law prohibits manufacturers from claiming that their products are free from a specific chemical "if the chemical belongs to a chemical group or class identified on the designated list unless no individual chemical from that chemical group or class is intentionally added to the cookware."


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