[Press release] State legislatures take the lead on turning off tap on toxic chemicals

By Gretchen Salter | SaferStates | February 5, 2020

Read the full article by Gretchen Salter (SaferStates)

"(Portland, OR) –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..."