What businesses should know about Colorado’s new ‘forever chemicals’ ban | Greenbiz (2022)

In May, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law the strongest state bill to date restricting the sale of PFAS "forever chemicals" in an array of consumer products and, for the first time, in the fluids used to extract oil and gas products (such as for hydraulic fracturing).

The law phases out the use of PFAS — known scientifically as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — in carpets, upholstered furniture, fabric treatments, cosmetics, juvenile products, textile furnishings (draperies and tablecloths) and certain types of food packaging. It also requires any cookware with PFAS to be labeled. It does not allow for any exemptions, and it starts to take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

"Our law should be a warning that whether it's Colorado or another state, you're not going to be able to use PFAS and add to the chemical exposures we're already dealing with. So, you should act quickly to remove them, and those companies that do will be leaders in their industry," Danny Katz, executive director of Colorado Public Interest Research Group, told GreenBiz.

States are increasingly enacting aggressive bans on PFAS use in products as they grapple with widespread drinking water contamination from these chemicals that take centuries to break down in the environment and have been linked to maladies from testicular and kidney cancers, to reproductive disorders to thyroid disease to impaired immune response.

Nearly every U.S. resident carries low levels of PFAS in their blood. While the Supreme Court’s recent decision, West Virginia vs. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), casts doubt on environmental agency rulemaking authority that will most certainly trickle down to the states, legal experts say they don’t expect it to impact bans on PFAS-containing products passed with clear legislative mandates. What’s more, they think companies should expect more PFAS-containing product bans to come.

(Video) Proposed bill aims to ban use of 'forever chemicals' in many consumer products

"That is the direction state legislatures are going; that is the way the market is going. The interest in getting rid of non-essential uses of PFAS will continue because we are already so inundated with PFAS," said Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney at EWG, an environmental advocacy group that focuses on consumer protection.

Our law should be a warning that whether it's Colorado or another state, you're not going to be able to use PFAS and add to the chemical exposures we're already dealing with.

"Look for several other states in 2022 to propose or even pass similar legislation," agreed John Gardella, shareholder and chief services officer at CMBG3 Law. Gardella’s firm advises companies on regulatory compliance concerning PFAS and is currently tracking PFAS-containing product bans that are in the works in eight states. "It’s an issue that's certainly not going to go away," he said.

In Colorado, the first product bans begin Jan. 1, 2024, for carpets, fabric treatments, food packaging, juvenile products, and oil and gas extraction products containing PFAS. The juvenile products category encompasses many items for children up to age 12, including bedding, strollers, car seats and baby furniture. Bans kick in one year later for PFAS use in cosmetics, and indoor furniture and textile furnishings, and in 2027 for outdoor furniture and textiles. The cookware labelling requirement begins in 2024.

PFAS pollution from firefighting foam used at Colorado’s military bases drove strong bipartisan support for the new law, Katz told GreenBiz. Tens of thousands of people have had their drinking water contaminated with PFAS, he said, particularly in the Colorado Springs area. Some have high levels of PFAS in their blood.

(Video) Colorado Bill Aims To Ban Sale Of Household Products Containing Toxic 'Forever Chemicals'

"In a state like Colorado where our water supply is tight, and we're living through a mega-drought, the last thing we can afford is to lose a drop of water to these forever chemicals," Katz said. "And so we want to make sure that we are stopping them from getting into our water, stopping them from getting into our bodies."

Katz said further that Colorado may pass more product bans in the future. "There was an acknowledgment that this bill isn't going to be the solution, but it's the next big solution." Some things weren’t included, he noted, including especially PFAS-containing athletic apparel. What’s more, he thinks the labeling requirement for cookware is "a good step" to educate people about PFAS, but he said, "ultimately we're not going to stop until it's eliminated."

The coalition that came together to pass the bill will come together again, he said, "especially if companies don't take this as a signal and start acting."

States with bans on PFAS-containing products

Maine and Washington have similarly enacted comprehensive laws phasing out PFAS-containing products. Maine’s law bans PFAS use in any product but allows for waivers if no substitute is available. The law does not kick in until 2030 for most products, although manufacturers must begin reporting PFAS use Jan. 1. Washington’s laws require the phase-out of PFAS-containing products, including apparel, non-stick pans, waxes, floor-care products, cosmetics and firefighter gear, by 2025.

California has enacted laws phasing out PFAS in food packaging and in children’s items, such as booster seats and crib mattresses. A bill to ban PFAS in cosmetics is making its way through the legislature. In total, 11 states have passed laws phasing out PFAS in food packaging. (See Safer States for a complete listing).

(Video) Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' To Be Banned From Some Consumer Products Sold In Colorado, After Legislatu

I can imagine courts looking at state laws and adopting that same reason that something is not clearly authorized enough … which is really challenging and scary, because that is the fundamental difference between legislating and rulemaking.

Colorado, like many states with PFAS laws, takes a more protective stance than the EPA in its definition of what constitutes a PFAS. It considers any chemical with at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom to be a PFAS, whereby EPA’s definition includes compounds with relatively longer carbon-fluorine molecule chains, although the agency says the definition is a "working definition" that could change.

Inconsistencies and broad mandates about what constitutes a PFAS are challenging for impacted industries, Gardella told GreenBiz. "It's a sourcing supply chain issue as well," he added, noting that many chemicals come from overseas where the reporting and disclosure requirements are less strict, so it’s difficult to know whether a particular product or raw material contains a PFAS. Companies are hiring experts to help them sort it all out, he said.

Impact of West Virginia vs. EPA

The Supreme Court’s ruling restricting EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions is unlikely to have much impact on Colorado’s or other state’s laws enacting bans of PFAS-containing products, experts agreed. "It was about the agency's regulatory action and how clear the congressional mandate is, and [in Colorado] you have a very clear mandate from the legislature," Benesh said.

But, she added, "I can imagine courts looking at state laws and adopting that same reason that something is not clearly authorized enough … which is really challenging and scary, because that is the fundamental difference between legislating and rulemaking." Historically, legislators have delegated to agencies who have the expertise to design programs that protect the public’s health.

(Video) Webinar: Fracking with "Forever Chemicals" in Ohio

Gardella agreed, but he said he thinks the Supreme Court decision won’t filter down to states across the board. "Some of the more conservative states are going to use that ruling to support similar rulings in their own states, but I think there will be other states that go the other way and continue to grant their state regulatory agencies the power to act more independently."

As far as the ruling affecting federal action on PFAS, Benesh said that there are clear statutory mandates for many actions that EPA is considering. "It's really going to depend on the action," she said, and "what Congress has said about it … versus how creative the agency is trying to be to address certain actions."

Still she concludes, "the long-term ramifications of this decision have yet to be seen."

Regardless of its potential impact on states’ regulatory authorities, experts said that companies should start eliminating the forever chemicals now.

"It's critical that companies immediately begin to phase out PFAS from any of their products," Katz said. "We recognize that they've been used to make things more water-resistant or stick-resistant, but the cost of a water-resistant product is simply too much."

(Video) Exposure to Forever Chemicals: Are Children At Risk? - by Dr Chris Wiant

FAQs

What products have the most PFAS? ›

  • Some grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers.
  • Stain resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics.
  • Water resistant clothing.
  • Cleaning products.
  • Personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup)

What household products have forever chemicals? ›

Forever chemicals are in thousands of household products, including shampoos, cosmetics and plastic packaging. "It's also in our nonstick pans, like the Teflon pans that we're using. It's in stain-removing products that are in our carpeting and on our furniture, and on our clothes," says Dr. Fairweather.

What companies manufactured PFAS? ›

DuPont invented the PFAS chemical patented as Teflon, but 3M became its main manufacturer.

How do you break down forever chemicals? ›

Testing different recipes at different temperatures, Dichtel and his colleagues discovered that the fastest way to take PFAS down was to heat the "forever chemical" to boiling along with DMSO and lye, or sodium hydroxide — a common chemical found in many types of soap.

Do Brita filters remove PFAS? ›

A new filter cartridge that is compatible with Brita pitchers can remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water.

How do I detox my body of PFAS? ›

Your body is well-equipped to naturally process out toxins like PFAS through your natural detoxification pathways. You can give your natural detox capabilities a boost by integrating techniques like PEMF therapy, infrared saunas, and detox binders.

Does bottled water have PFAS? ›

You might think that bottled water is safer than tap water, but recent studies have found that some brands of bottled water contain PFAS above safe levels. This article will discuss the prevalence of these compounds in bottled water and what you should do if it's in your favorite brand.

Do PFAS wash out of clothes? ›

A study last year found high levels of PFAS in the dust where firefighting gear is stored; another study found elevated PFAS in the air of an outdoor gear store. Scientists are also learning that PFAS-based finishes run off clothes in the wash, heading to wastewater treatment plants and eventually into waterways.

What food packages contain PFAS? ›

Paper/paperboard food packaging: PFAS may be used as grease-proofing agents in fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, take-out paperboard containers, and pet food bags to prevent oil and grease from foods from leaking through the packaging.

Does parchment paper have PFAS? ›

PFAS in parchment paper is only one example of how forever chemicals have entered Americans' homes, where we are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis.

Do any water filters remove PFAS? ›

Both granular activated carbon (GAC) and reverse osmosis (RO) filters can reduce PFAS substances. Both systems provide less water flow than a standard water faucet.

Where are PFAS most commonly found? ›

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s. They have been used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.

Does distilled water have PFAS? ›

The results of testing the distilled water produced showed that PFAS were…not detected. (That is virtually 100% removal!) Boiling water containing PFAS will not release them.

How do you remove PFAS from drinking water? ›

Activated carbon treatment is the most studied treatment for PFAS removal. Activated carbon is commonly used to adsorb natural organic compounds, taste and odor compounds, and synthetic organic chemicals in drinking water treatment systems.

Do water filters remove forever chemicals? ›

A suitable water filtration system will remove or reduce PFAS from your water. High-pressure membranes (reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration), activated carbon filtration, and ion exchange treatment are the most effective at removing PFAS from water.

Does boiling water remove PFAS? ›

No. PFAS cannot be removed by heating or boiling water. Should I drink bottled water? At this time, EPA is not recommending bottled water for communities based solely on concentrations of these chemicals in drinking water that exceed the health advisory levels.

Do fridge filters remove PFAS? ›

The typical refrigerator filter is designed to remove chlorine and taste from water, but they were not made to remove PFAS. These filters use activated carbon, which can remove PFAS, but they only remove some of the contaminant. You should not rely on refrigerator filters to treat drinking water contaminated with PFAS.

Do PUR faucet filters remove PFAS? ›

Common water pitcher brands like Brita and Pur are perfectly fine if you want to reduce bad-tasting chlorine and contaminants like heavy metals. But they weren't designed to remove PFAS or even reduce their concentration in your tap water.

How do I reduce PFAS in my house? ›

How to Reduce PFAS Exposure
  1. Cook fresh food at home. ...
  2. When you eat out, minimize exposure to packaging. ...
  3. Check your drinking water. ...
  4. Don't microwave bags of popcorn. ...
  5. Check your cookware.
9 Oct 2019

What cancers are linked to PFAS? ›

  • Kidney Cancer. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Associated with Increased Risk of Kidney Cancer. ...
  • Testicular Cancer. ...
  • Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer. ...
  • Prostate Cancer. ...
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Thyroid Cancer. ...
  • Thyroid Cancer and Childhood Leukemia. ...
  • Drinking Water Exposure Assessment in the California Teachers Study (CTS)

What are symptoms of PFAS exposure? ›

What are the health effects of PFAS?
  • Increased cholesterol levels. Decreased vaccine response in children.
  • Changes in liver enzymes. Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
  • Small decreases in infant birth weights. Increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

What is the safest bottled water to drink 2022? ›

Best Bottled Water Brand You Can Get In 2022
  • SMARTWATER. Smartwater's vapor-distilled water is famous for their range of hydrating electrolyte water drinks. ...
  • AQUAFINA. ...
  • EVIAN. ...
  • LIFEWTR. ...
  • FIJI. ...
  • NESTLE PURE LIFE. ...
  • VOSS. ...
  • MOUNTAIN VALLEY SPRING WATER.
29 Aug 2022

Are PFAS in glass bottles? ›

Glass and cardboard bottles had no detectable PFAS levels.

What is the healthiest water to drink? ›

What Is The Healthiest Water To Drink? When sourced and stored safely, spring water is typically the healthiest option. When spring water is tested, and minimally processed, it offers the rich mineral profile that our bodies desperately crave.

Do Ziploc bags contain PFAS? ›

Ziploc bags do not contain PFAS, but with the other contaminations in the environment, anyone could fall victim to a PFAS-related illness.

Does aluminum foil contain PFAS? ›

They're also commonly found in baking supplies, such as parchment paper. And the nonstick coatings on frying pans, crock pots, panini presses, aluminum foil, and more often contain PFAS.

Do leggings have PFAS? ›

Testing finds fluorine—an indicator of PFAS—in women's sportswear from popular brands like Old Navy and Lululemon. One in four pairs of popular leggings and yoga pants tested have detectable levels of fluorine, an indicator of toxic PFAS, according to a new report from Mamavation.

What takeout containers have PFAS? ›

Food containers like cardboard takeout containers, pizza boxes, fast food packaging, pet food bags, and microwaveable popcorn bags are all known to have PFAS in them. Avoid these when you can to eliminate your exposure.

Does Mcdonalds have PFAS? ›

“McDonald's stands behind its commitment to the safety of its food and food packaging. We removed a significant subset of PFAS, including Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), from all guest packaging globally in 2008.

Does dental floss contain PFAS? ›

The researchers found that several types of dental floss contained fluorine, which indicates the presence of PFAS compounds.

Do Starbucks cups have PFAS? ›

Starbucks has more than 15,000 U.S. stores and 34,000 stores worldwide and is the second biggest quick-service restaurant chain in the U.S. The company stated: “By the end of this year, we will have eliminated PFAS from all packaging in the U.S. and will eliminate PFAS globally in 2023.”

Do canned foods have PFAS? ›

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detected PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in canned tuna, fish sticks and protein powder during a recent Total Diet Study. The study tested 167 foods that contained the most commonly consumed components of the average United States resident's diet.

Does cardboard have PFAS? ›

Up to half of all paper wrappers and 20% of all paperboard/cardboard containers may contain PFAS. Although 3 different PFAS have been banned for use in food packaging by the FDA, many others (not yet well-tested but also suspected of causing health problems) are not subject to regulations.

Which pitcher filter removes PFAS? ›

The LifeStraw Home Pitcher is one of the most effective products to combat PFAS; its dual filtration technology combines membrane microfiltration with activated carbon and advanced ion exchange technology to remove PFOA and PFOS from water.

What filter removes forever chemicals? ›

Two types of water filtration systems work to remove PFAS from drinking water in your home: granulated activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis filters.

Does Brita filter lead? ›

Get cleaner, better-tasting water right from your tap.

This table lists all the contaminants our filters are certified to reduce including chlorine, lead and copper for great-tasting water.

Is C8 in my blood? ›

According to a 2007 study, C8 is in the blood of 99.7% of Americans. It's called a "forever chemical" because it never fully degrades.

What is the most toxic bottled water? ›

A test of 47 types of bottled water found “toxic PFAS chemicals” in several popular brands of water. The report found that two brands of noncarbonated water, Tourmaline Spring Sacred Living Water (4.64 PPT) and Deer Park Natural Spring Water (1.21 PPT), exceeded the threshold of 1 part per trillion PFAS.

What does PFAS do to humans? ›

A growing body of science has found that there are potential adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. These chemicals can easily migrate into the air, dust, food, soil and water.

Does Poland Spring bottled water contain PFAS? ›

Among Nestle bottled water products that CU found to contain PFAS are: Nestle Pure Life, Poland Spring, Zephyrhills, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Perrier and San Pelligrino.

How do I test my water for PFAS? ›

How can I test my well water for PFAS? Currently, there are three U.S. EPA testing methodologies for testing drinking water for PFAS. Laboratories will analyze drinking water for PFAS using either USEPA Method 537, 537.1, or 533.

Is boiled water the same as distilled water? ›

No, they aren't the same. Boiled water is simply water that has had the temperature increased until it reaches its boiling point. This kills a host of bacteria that can make a person sick. Distilled water is water that has been stripped of all impurities, including minerals and microorganisms.

What dental floss does not contain PFAS? ›

Eco-DenT Floss:

Eco-DenT floss is PFA-free, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan. It's nylon-based, is coated in vegan wax, and comes in a plastic-free container. The box that the floss comes in is actually the dispenser, and it contains no artificial sweeteners, parabens, or colorings.

Which water filter removes the most contaminants? ›

Reverse osmosis systems are some of the best options for your water. The Reverse osmosis system in the 4 stage design is a design that will help you remove the maximum number of contaminants from your water.

Can you drink distilled water? ›

Distilled water is safe to drink. But you'll probably find it flat or bland. That's because it's stripped of important minerals like calcium, sodium, and magnesium that give tap water its familiar flavor. What's left is just hydrogen and oxygen and nothing else.

Does a Brita filter remove forever chemicals? ›

The standard Brita filter will clear drinking water of abnormal odors or tastes and remove some particulates. However, it's no match for “forever chemicals.” One Purefast filter can supply up to 65 gallons of PFAS-free water.

Does zero water get rid of PFAS? ›

Then filter your tap water with ZeroWater, the only filter that removes PFAS from the water. This way you are always assured of really clean drinking water.

Do Water softeners remove PFAS? ›

Other types of common water treatment systems, such as water softeners or iron filtration systems, are not likely to remove PFAS. Boiling water will not remove PFAS. While many homes have whole-house water softening or iron filtration systems, sampling data indicate that those systems do NOT remove PFAS.

Where are PFAS most commonly found? ›

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s. They have been used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.

What bottled water has no PFAS? ›

Poland Springs non-carbonated bottled water does not have PFAS.

What clothing contains PFAS? ›

Since the 1940s, a broad class of synthetic chemicals called per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS, for short) has been added to performance gear such as raincoats, snow boots, bicycle oil, ski wax, and more to make them breathable yet impervious to water.

Does hand sanitizer have PFAS? ›

Besides hand sanitizers, products that contain PFAS include nonstick cookware, food wrappers, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets, firefighting foams and more.

Do PFAS wash out of clothes? ›

A study last year found high levels of PFAS in the dust where firefighting gear is stored; another study found elevated PFAS in the air of an outdoor gear store. Scientists are also learning that PFAS-based finishes run off clothes in the wash, heading to wastewater treatment plants and eventually into waterways.

Is C8 in my blood? ›

According to a 2007 study, C8 is in the blood of 99.7% of Americans. It's called a "forever chemical" because it never fully degrades.

What is the most toxic bottled water? ›

A test of 47 types of bottled water found “toxic PFAS chemicals” in several popular brands of water. The report found that two brands of noncarbonated water, Tourmaline Spring Sacred Living Water (4.64 PPT) and Deer Park Natural Spring Water (1.21 PPT), exceeded the threshold of 1 part per trillion PFAS.

What is the safest bottled water to drink 2022? ›

Best Bottled Water Brand You Can Get In 2022
  • SMARTWATER. Smartwater's vapor-distilled water is famous for their range of hydrating electrolyte water drinks. ...
  • AQUAFINA. ...
  • EVIAN. ...
  • LIFEWTR. ...
  • FIJI. ...
  • NESTLE PURE LIFE. ...
  • VOSS. ...
  • MOUNTAIN VALLEY SPRING WATER.
29 Aug 2022

What bottled water is actually tap water? ›

Most bottled water is actually tap water—about sixty four percent by some estimates. Many bottled water brands simply repackage tap water, and make a killing on it. Coca-Cola owns Dasani, PepsiCo owns Aquafina and LIFEWTR, Nestle owns PureLife and Poland Spring, among others.

What is the healthiest water to drink? ›

What Is The Healthiest Water To Drink? When sourced and stored safely, spring water is typically the healthiest option. When spring water is tested, and minimally processed, it offers the rich mineral profile that our bodies desperately crave.

Do Ziploc bags contain PFAS? ›

Ziploc bags do not contain PFAS, but with the other contaminations in the environment, anyone could fall victim to a PFAS-related illness.

Does aluminum foil contain PFAS? ›

They're also commonly found in baking supplies, such as parchment paper. And the nonstick coatings on frying pans, crock pots, panini presses, aluminum foil, and more often contain PFAS.

Does parchment paper have PFAS? ›

PFAS in parchment paper is only one example of how forever chemicals have entered Americans' homes, where we are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis.

Are PFAS in chapstick? ›

New Study Finds Toxic Chemicals in Makeup — PFAS. A class of toxic chemicals known as PFAS have been found in cosmetics produced by major beauty brands in the US and Canada, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Do essential oils have PFAS? ›

Multiple essential oils, including lavender and tea tree oil, have endocrine-disrupting properties, placing them in a category with chemicals like BPA and PFAS.

Does Bath and Body Works have benzene? ›

Products with benzene below 0.1 ppm:

Bath & Body Works, Marble, Men's Collection. Bath & Body Works, Teakwood, Men's Collection. Calvin Klein Eternity For Men, Aqua, All Over Body Spray.

Videos

1. PFAS: The Forever Chemical You Need to Know
(ALINE WEALTH)
2. PFAS - The FOREVER Chemicals and how to avoid them as best you can.
(The Green Living Gurus, LLC)
3. PFAS Regulatory Update: EPA Issues Updated Drinking Water Health Advisories
(CroweDunlevy)
4. Science Cafe: "Prevalence Of "Forever Chemicals" In Water Systems"
(OkStateLibrary)
5. Colorado's Approach to Addressing PFAS Contamination 1 of 2
(AWMA RMSS)
6. Recording 169 CHE-Alaska 4/14/2022 The Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class
(Alaska Community Action on Toxics)

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