New analysis finds toxic “forever chemicals” regulation and clean-up will significantly drive 2022 state policies on toxic chemicals
February 03, 2022
At least 32 states will consider more than 210 bills on toxic chemical policies
(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Safer States today released its annual analysis of anticipated state policies across the country on toxic chemical laws, predicting that toxic “forever chemical” regulation and clean-up will significantly drive this year’s state-level policies on toxic chemicals.
Similar to 2021, efforts to combat toxic PFAS (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) are expected to continue to be the most prevalent issue in state policy across the United States. In addition to efforts to broadly regulate PFAS chemicals in products, energized activity is also anticipated around personal care products and textiles. Overall, at least 32 states will consider 210 bills on toxic chemical policies this year.
“State legislatures recognize the severity of the toxic PFAS crisis we’re facing and they’re taking action,” said Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States. “2022 will be another groundbreaking year when it comes to addressing toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in state policies. To foster clean, healthy, and thriving communities, states recognize how critical it is to protect residents from toxic threats. States continue to lead the way in addressing these serious problems with urgency and innovative solutions.”
The 32 states considering more than 210 policies in 2022 include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“Maine is in the midst of a PFAS crisis. We have seen the devastating impact first-hand of PFAS contamination on our farmers and rural communities,” said Maine State Senator Richard Bennett, (R-Oxford). “As state legislators, it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to turn off the tap and limit exposure to these toxic chemicals and provide resources to those most impacted. I'm proud that Maine has led the way on this issue. We’ve shown what’s possible when we all work together to tackle tough problems.”
“In Michigan, PFAS and other ‘forever chemicals’ have impacted my community for decades. We’ve made significant strides in assessing the scope of the problem statewide and filtering PFAS out of drinking water. However, there’s still so much to be done to stop contamination at its source, to require businesses to find alternatives to these harmful chemicals, and to create fair timeframes during which people who’ve been harmed can seek justice,” said Michigan State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). “We also need stronger laws that send a message to corporate polluters that profits never come before public health.”
Retailers are increasingly adopting safer chemicals policies to reduce or eliminate PFAS and other hazardous chemicals in key product sectors including textiles, according to the annualRetailer Report Card published by Toxic-Free Future’s Mind the Store program. Over the past few years,18 retailers selling food or food packaging announced steps to reduce or eliminate PFAS in food packaging at their more than 77,000 stores, including retailers such as Amazon.com, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Wendy’s, and Whole Foods Market. Other retailers like Rite Aid, Sephora, Target, and Walmart are working to eliminate chemicals like phthalates from their products, while The Home Depot and Lowes committed to removing PFAS from all carpeting and rugs sold in their stores.
“I’ve seen first-hand how the market is impacted by state policies on toxic chemicals,” explains Mike Schade, director of Toxic-Free Future’s Mind the Store program. “It’s wise for retailers to get ahead of the curve and mitigate potential risks by taking action right away. Healthier products and processes are best for everyone. As more and more states step up to ban and regulate PFAS, retailers must act now and mind the store.”
Highlights from Safer States’ 2022 analysis include:
Restrictions on PFAS in products: At least 19 states will consider policy to regulate PFAS such as restricting all uses of PFAS except those that are currently unavoidable, requiring disclosure in products, targeting multiple consumer product categories or specific categories such as food contact materials, firefighting foam, textiles, cosmetics, and/or other consumer products (such as artificial turf, ski wax, fracking fluid, pesticides, and all packaging). These states include: AK, CA, CO, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MI, MN, NH, NC, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WA, WI.
PFAS cleanup, management and accountability: At least 17 states will consider policies for medical monitoring, liability and/or extending the statute of limitations for PFAS lawsuits; restricting PFAS disposal and/or ban incineration; designating PFAS chemicals as hazardous under state law; and/or designating resources for PFAS cleanup. These states include: AK, CA, FL, IL, IN, MA, ME, MD, MI, MN, NH, NC, OK, RI, VT, WA, WI.
PFAS and water: At least 19 states will consider legislation to set standards for PFAS in drinking water; address PFAS in surface water, groundwater, soil and/or sludge; require testing, monitoring, and/or disclosure of PFAS in water. These states include: AK, AZ, CT, FL, IA, IN, KY, ME, MN, NC, NH, NY, OH, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV, WI.
Toxic chemicals and recyclability: At least 3 states will consider policies that disallow PFAS and other toxic chemicals from being present in products labeled as or claiming to be recyclable. These states include: HI, MD, NJ.
Broad safer products and cosmetics policy: At least 6 states will consider policies that strengthen existing safe products policy or create new safe products policy that restrict multiple chemicals and/or require disclosure of chemicals of concern from cosmetics or children’s products: CA, MA, MI, NY, VT, WA.
Toxic flame retardants: Several states will consider restricting toxic flame retardants in furniture, children’s products, and/or electronics. These states include: DE, GA, IA, WV.
Additional chemicals of concern: Several states will consider restrictions on additional chemicals of concern such as bisphenols, cadmium, lead, mercury, phthalates, and triclosan. These states include: MA, NJ, NY, PA.
For more information on this year's analysis of anticipated state policies, visit Safer States’ 2022 analysis.
To view up to date state policy as it is introduced and adopted, visit Safer States Bill Tracker.
For more information on actions taken by governments, retailers, and brands, visit Safer States’ PFAS action fact sheet.
Safer States is a network of diverse environmental health coalitions and organizations in states across the country that share a bold and urgent vision to protect people and communities from toxic chemical threats. By harnessing place-based power, Safer States creates innovative solutions that promote safer alternatives and helps prevent harm to people and the environment caused by dangerous chemicals. Working directly with state-based advocacy organizations, Safer States provides support and strategic guidance to advocates as well as a platform for national collaboration and coordination. www.saferstates.org
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“2022 will be another groundbreaking year when it comes to addressing toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in state policies. To foster clean, healthy, and thriving communities, states recognize how critical it is to protect residents from toxic threats. States continue to lead the way in addressing these serious problems with urgency and innovative solutions.” - Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States.