Putting the Brakes on Toxic “Forever Chemicals” in Maryland

May 10, 2022

Read the full article by Tom Hucker (NRDC)

"Like Americans nationwide, Marylanders are expressing growing concern about the rising evidence of widespread PFAS contamination. The presence of these toxic “forever chemicals” in surface water and seafood is particularly resonant in Maryland, a state that prides itself on its iconic blue crab, oyster, and rockfish population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. So, it was especially exciting when, on April 21, Governor Larry Hogan signed into state law SB0273/HB0275, the George “Walter” Taylor Act, which curtails the introduction of new PFAS into the environment. PFAS, a class of toxics known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily, are used in a variety of products and have been linked to cancer and many other health harms.

The bill, named after a Maryland firefighter whose family believes he died of cancer caused by PFAS, restricts the introduction of new PFAS into the environment via three of the most significant sources—firefighting foam, food packaging, and rugs and carpets. It also requires disclosure of PFAS in firefighting gear and prevents the mass disposal of PFAS through incineration and landfilling. By doing so, the legislation blends best practices in PFAS restrictions from other states, including New York and California."