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Several states in the US have introduced bills to prohibit PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams, firefighting personal protective equipment and/or food packaging. The scope of products is jurisdiction dependent.

SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 027/19

Mixed Vegetables in a Paper Plate

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS chemicals, are a diverse family of synthetic substances that are used in the manufacture of everyday products with properties such as stain resistance, water repellant, anti-grease, oil and/or dirt.

These chemicals, also called perfluorinated compounds (PFC), which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are known to be used in the manufacture of a wide variety of consumer goods, including carpets, cosmetics, leather, food contact materials and articles such as non-stick cookware and paper coatings, firefighting foams, upholstered furniture, waterproof apparel and equipment, with anti-water (water-proof/water-resistant), grease, oil and/or stain properties.

Several jurisdictions in the United States (US) enacted legislation to regulate PFAS chemicals. In November 2017, California added PFOA and PFOS to its Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list of chemicals. Unless exempted, businesses have been required to provide a clear and reasonable warning since November 2018 (Safeguard 175/17). In 2018, Washington prohibited these chemicals in food packaging and firefighting foams (Safeguards 42/18 and 48/18). In the same year, San Francisco became the first US city to prohibit these substances in single-use food service ware (Safeguard 124/18).

Since the beginning of 2019, several jurisdictions in the US have introduced bills to prohibit PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams, firefighting personal protective equipment and/or food packaging.

Highlights of these proposals are summarized in Table 1.

Proposals on PFAS Chemicals (Session 2019)
Jurisdiction Bill (companion bill) Scope Requirement Effective Date
Kentucky SB 104 Class B Firefighting foams for firefighting or training purposes Prohibited July 15, 2020
Massachusetts SD 678 Food packaging Prohibited January 1, 2020
Massachusetts SD 1784 Sale of firefighting personal protective equipment Written statement required indicating purpose of having PFAS chemicals in equipment January 1, 2020
Firefighting personal protective equipment Prohibited January 1, 2022
Minnesota SF 321 (HF 359) Class B firefighting foams Prohibited July 1, 2020
New Hampshire SB 257-FN Sale of firefighting personal protective equipment Written statement required indicating that the equipment contains PFAS chemicals July 1, 2020
Class B firefighting foams Prohibited unless required by federal law July 1, 2021
New York A 445 (S 439) Class B firefighting foams Prohibited 2 years and 90 days after becoming law
Firefighting personal protective equipment Written notice required and statement indicating purpose of having PFAS chemicals in equipment 90th day after becoming law
New York A 4739 (S 2000) Food packaging largely made of paper, paperboard or plant fibers Prohibited Upon enactment
Rhode Island S 218 Food packaging Prohibited January 1, 2020
Virginia HB 2762
[House
substitute, 19105779D]
Class B Firefighting foams for firefighting or training purposes Prohibited July 1, 2021

Table 1

Throughout a global network of laboratories, SGS can offer a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for restricted substances, including PFAS chemicals in food contact materials and articles for the US and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +(852) 2774 7420

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