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Just before the new year, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a bill restricting the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, in apparel. The bill will eliminate the use of PFAS in apparel by Dec. 31, 2023. Governor Hochul also signed a bill banning PFAS in carpets as part of a mandate requiring manufacturers to implement a carpet collection program.  


The year 2022 was a pivotal year where numerous states took significant action to safeguard human and environmental health from toxic chemicals and pushed toward a system based on safer chemicals and materials. Given the urgency of the PFAS chemical crisis contaminating drinking water across the country, states drove an ambitious agenda, pushing for class-based restriction of toxic chemicals, transparency about what chemicals are in what products, holding polluters accountable, preventing false solutions, and investing in cleanup.

There is reason to hope that we can see beyond the political divisions that were evident on election day 2022 and work together to address common threats. One issue, in particular, has consistently drawn bipartisan attention from state legislators across the country — the need to address toxic PFAS chemicals that are contaminating communities and drinking water.


PORTLAND, OR—Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a first in the nation groundbreaking bill (AB 1817) that explicitly bans the use of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), also known as “forever chemicals,” in many textiles. 

This week, REI members take to the streets of REI stores nationwide demanding that outdoor retailer REI set a clear timeline to eliminate toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) as part of a year-long national campaign led by Toxic-Free Future’s Mind the Store program, Safer States, and partners. Spanning 12 cities in 11 states, REI customers will deliver a petition with more than 130,000 signatures to REI’s flagship stores in their hometown of Seattle and in Manhattan demanding action on PFAS “forever chemicals.”

Walmart recently published an update to its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) website stating that, between 2017 to 2020, it achieved a 17% reduction in its footprint of “priority chemicals,” which equates to the removal of 36.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals from private-label and brand-name cosmetics, personal care, household cleaners, and formulated baby care products in the U.S. As the first major U.S. retailer to have announced a broad time-bound chemical footprint reduction goal, the 17% reduction in three years exceeds its original goal of 10% in five years.

Most states have now finished their legislative sessions and, as Safer States’ analysis predicted earlier this year, there has been significant action on toxic chemicals in state policies across the country, especially ones focused on PFAS “forever chemicals”So far this year, bipartisan majorities in 13 states have adopted at least 22 policies that will help transform our economic system to be one that better protects communities and creates incentives for industry to develop safer chemicals.

On Tuesday, July 5, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed into law a policy that bans toxic chemicals known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in all types of food packaging by 2024. In addition to becoming the 11th state to ban PFAS from food packaging, this policy requires food packaging solutions to be less hazardous and targets PFAS chemicals used in the production of food packaging, not just the food packaging material itself. Rhode Island’s policy will also restrict PFAS and heavy metals in recycled content food packaging starting in July 2027. 

On Wednesday, June 8, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed into law a first-in-the-nation policy that prohibits the disposal by incineration of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that are listed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory. This includes, but is not strictly limited to, PFAS substances that are often found in aqueous film-forming foam, otherwise known as firefighting foam. In 2020, New York adopted a similar law that banned the incineration of PFAS-containing firefighting foams at a specific facility, but Illinois is the first to issue a statewide ban on incinerating certain PFAS. 

Today, the Keep Food Containers Safe From PFAS Act was passed as an amendment to the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements (FDASLA) Act of 2022 on a bipartisan vote (13-9) in the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP). The amendment, which will ban the use of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances) in food packaging, was offered by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) with the support of Senator Murkowski (R-AK).

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