U.S. PFAS Regulations by State
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of exclusively man-made chemicals used in numerous consumer products that are considered harmful to the environment and human health. Also known as “forever chemicals”, PFAS are incredibly persistent and accumulate in the environment and the human body over time. Due to the risks posed by PFAS exposure, regulations to restrict or prohibit the use of PFAS continue to expand at a rapid rate worldwide, including in the United States (U.S.), both at the federal and state levels.
At a federal level, PFAS are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Section 8(a)(7) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which requires businesses to report on their use of PFAS in products from any year since 2011. The EPA has also taken additional action to address the PFAS crisis at the federal level since January 2021. In addition to these efforts at the federal level, several U.S. states have adopted or proposed legislation regarding the use of PFAS in consumer products. This blog provides an overview of the U.S. states with PFAS laws and what those laws entail.
Which U.S. states have PFAS regulations?
As of early 2024, ten U.S. states have enacted laws regarding PFAS. Many of these ten states have passed additional laws that are set to be enacted in the future or proposed laws that are still going through the legislative process. Additionally, several other states not included on this list are also in the process of introducing their first set of PFAS laws. For this blog, we will only cover active PFAS laws. An overview of each of the enacted state laws, with a focus on specific product categories, is included below.
California has been at the forefront of PFAS regulation with its Proposition 65 law. Proposition 65 mandates warning labeling requirements for consumer products containing certain chemicals that may cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, including PFAS. California has added several PFAS to its Proposition 65 warning list, including Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and Perfluorononanioc acid (PFNA).
Additionally, California bans the sale or distribution of food packaging and children's products containing intentionally added PFAS and mandates chemical disclosure requirements for PFAS in cookware on product labels.
Colorado bans the sale or distribution of any product containing intentionally added PFAS, including carpets or rugs, food packaging, oil and gas products, and children’s products. The state also has specific restrictions for PFAS in cookware products. Colorado has a phased approach to PFAS restrictions with additional products being subjected to the law over time, such as cosmetics and indoor and outdoor textile furnishings.
Connecticut bans the use of intentionally added PFAS in food packaging and restricts the use of PFAS in Class-B firefighting foam.
Hawaii prohibits the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of wraps and liners, plates, food boats, and pizza boxes containing intentionally added PFAS. In certain circumstances, the state also restricts the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS.
Maine prohibits the sale of carpets, rugs, and fabric treatments containing intentionally added PFAS. Additionally, the state’s previously passed PFAS reporting law has been amended with several critical changes and the reporting deadline has been pushed back to January 1, 2025.
Maryland bans the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of carpets and rugs, food packages, and Class-B firefighting foams containing intentionally added PFAS.
Minnesota bans the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS.
New York prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS.
Vermont restricts food packaging, residential carpets and rugs, aftermarket fabric treatments, and ski wax with intentionally added PFAS. The state also bans PFAS in firefighting foam.
Washington bans a wide range of food packaging with intentionally added PFAS, including packaging wraps, liners, plates, food boats, pizza boxes, and more. The state also restricts the use of PFAS in firefighting foam.
Why do states have their own PFAS regulations?
States have taken the initiative to establish their own PFAS regulations instead of relying solely on federal oversight. There are several reasons for this:
- Tailored Approaches: States can tailor their regulations to address the specific needs and concerns of their populations. This flexibility allows for more targeted and effective regulation.
- Local Variations: PFAS contamination levels and sources can vary from state to state. State-specific regulations help address these variations and mitigate the risks associated with PFAS exposure.
- Public Health Concerns: States prioritize public health and safety, and enacting regulations allows them to take swift action to protect their residents.
- Environmental Impact: PFAS contamination has significant environmental consequences. States have recognized the need to safeguard their ecosystems and natural resources from further harm.
What industries are affected by PFAS regulations in the United States?
Since PFAS are used in numerous consumer products, PFAS regulations have wide-ranging implications for various industries, including:
- Children’s Products
- Textiles, Apparel, and Footwear
- Upholstery, Furniture, Rugs, and Carpets
- Food Packaging
- Ski Wax and Waterproofing Treatments
These are just a few examples of the industries affected by PFAS regulations. The reach of these regulations extends to many other sectors, including paper products, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and dental products.
Which companies are in the scope of state-level PFAS regulations?
Consumer product manufacturers, importers, and retailers are the most affected companies when it comes to state-level PFAS regulations, but it varies on a state-by-state basis. For example, a manufacturer may be legally allowed to include PFAS in its products during the manufacturing process in one state, but a retailer is not able to sell those products within a different state due to PFAS bans or restrictions.
Leverage Source Intelligence for PFAS compliance in every U.S. state
While there are many similarities between state-level PFAS regulations, businesses must understand the specific laws for each state in which they manufacture or sell products. Thoroughly understanding each state’s PFAS restrictions while anticipating changes to existing regulations and preparing for new regulations is challenging and risky for many businesses.
Source Intelligence’s PFAS program streamlines the PFAS compliance process for state-level regulations, as well as federal ones. Our industry-leading technology helps you identify PFAS in your supply chain, cross-check your products against varying PFAS regulations, and generate customized PFAS declarations. We offer flexible delivery models – software, managed services, or a hybrid of the two – to meet your specific business needs.