California state governor Gavin Christopher Newsom recently signed into law a bill phasing out the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as ‘forever chemicals’, in clothing, several textiles, and other products like coatings and floor finishes by 2025.
According to the media reports, the ban follows Washington’s adoption of a law earlier this year targeting PFAS in all products.
The new law will ban PFAS in most clothing (including outdoor apparel) and textiles starting January 2025.
Moreover, the outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions that are not marketed for general consumer use and is designed for sports experts has an extension until 2028, but manufacturers will have to disclose that the products are made with PFAS chemicals during 2025-2028, including on online listings.
All intentional uses of PFAS in clothes and textiles will be banned, as will any levels above 100 parts per million (ppm) from 2025-2027, and any levels above 50 ppm after 2027.
However, personal protective equipment for workers is exempted from the bill, although the bill’s findings note the need for efforts to ensure that PFAS is removed from protective gear for firefighters and others as soon as possible, according to the US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Chemical companies sell PFAS for application to products like paper and textiles as stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing treatments.
PFAS have been linked to serious health problems, such as cancer, immune system suppression, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility, and increased risk of thyroid disease.