Growing list of states consider ways to regulate ‘forever chemicals’
February 24, 2023
State lawmakers across the country are looking for ways to address “forever chemicals” that don’t break down naturally and are shown to cause a myriad of health issues (Source: “A Slew of State Proposals Shows the Threat of 'Forever Chemicals',” Pew Stateline, Feb. 14).
Several states have passed landmark laws in recent years, and now dozens of legislatures are considering hundreds of bills to crack down on using such compounds. The legislation would strengthen product disclosure laws, increase liability for polluters, bolster testing plans and enact water quality standards.
Thousands of chemicals make up the group known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The chemicals have been found in an increasing number of watersheds and aquifers — as well as in the blood of nearly every American.
Some PFAS compounds, research shows, can increase the risk of cancer, damage immune systems, cause metabolic disorders and decrease fertility.
Safer States, an alliance of environmental health groups focused on toxic chemicals, has tracked more than 260 proposals in 31 states related to toxic chemicals, many focused on PFAS (there are no bills being considered in Ohio, according to the group’s bill tracker). Eleven of those states will consider sweeping restrictions or bans of PFAS across many economic sectors. Those bills follow a Maine law passed in 2021 that was the first in the country to ban PFAS in all new products, which will take effect in 2030.