In recent years, the trend in chemical legislation has been state-driven with an emphasis on chemical category-based rather than specific chemical-based regulation. These are the findings of a large NGO known as Safer States, which is comprised of dozens of environmental health organizations in the United States and promotes chemical legislation nationwide.
Indeed, the flurry of state activity with respect to chemical regulation suggests that states are increasingly seeking a dominant role in the regulatory process. As of the beginning of February, 24 states had more than 100 bills on chemical regulation slated for 2019. Many of these states have proposed laws across entire classes of chemicals while other regulatory proposals are aimed at certain sectors and industries.
Several category-based regulatory initiatives are being considered or have been implemented in various states including the following:
- Food packaging. PFAS is part of a group of man-made chemicals used in a variety of industries. PFAS are known to linger in the environment and in the human body for an extended period of time. PFAS are commonly used in food packaging materials and commercial household products. Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and at least 5 other states are reviewing restrictions on the use of PFAS in food packaging. Washington has already passed a law regulating all forms of PFAS in 2018.
- Firefighting foam. PFAS is a main ingredient in the production of firefighting foam. Washington has banned the use of PFAS in most firefighting foam and nine other states, including Alaska, Vermont and Michigan have proposed legislation to restrict the use of PFAS in firefighting foam.
- Flame retardants. Policies prohibiting the use of flame retardants in residential furniture and children’s products has been under review in at least 16 states, including Arizona, Indiana and New York.
- Chemicals in personal care products, fragrances and electronics. Eleven states are in the process of enacting policies that would disclose the presence of chemicals of concern in various categories including personal care products, fragrances, and electronics. New York and California are among the states considering such initiatives.
The growing focus on chemical category-based regulation illustrates that states’ concerns regarding efficient chemical regulation continue to be paramount.
Grimaldi Law Offices has been advising clients for over 20 years on chemical and product law. For knowledgeable advice and in-depth analysis on your chemical regulatory compliance obligations, contact Grimaldi Law Offices at (415) 463-5186 or email us at [email protected].