PFAS Legislation We Have Seen in 2022

By Jessica Gauger, CASA, Emerging Issues

Jessica Gauger, Director of Legislative Advocacy & Public Affairs, CASA

The California Legislature has taken action to limit the use of PFAS in recent years, enacting bills to phase them out of food packaging, banning their use in nearly all firefighting foam, and requiring notification on cookware containing PFAS. Three bills relating to PFAS were passed in the 2022 Legislative Session. The bills included two categorical ban bills and one bill that required manufacturers to disclose if their products contain PFAS on a publicly accessible database.

The PFAS bills are of interest to many stakeholders and tend to be controversial, given the widespread use of PFAS in commerce. This year, all three bills passed faced significant opposition from industry groups that want to continue using PFAS chemicals in their products, and many of them argue that the specific compounds they use are less harmful than early edition long-chain PFAS compounds.

CASA actively supported the three bills along with our partners in the water and NGO communities. Gov. Gavin Newsom took the following actions on PFAS legislation in the 2022 Legislative Session:

 AB 2247 (Bloom): PFAS Disclosure: VETOED

CASA’s co-sponsored bill with the Environmental Working Group and Clean Water Action was vetoed by Governor Newsom. The bill, which would have required manufacturers to publicly report if their products contain PFAS, will not go into effect. In his veto message, the Governor indicated he thought the bill may be premature given the pending regulatory action on PFAS at U.S. EPA. He also cited fiscal pressure on the state and concerns over declining revenues.

Despite the veto, CASA will continue collaborating with the NGO community on PFAS policy. It will soon reconvene our successful PFAS Policy Roundtable later this year to evaluate next steps.

AB 1817 (Ting): PFAS Ban in Textiles: SIGNED

The sale of textiles containing PFAS, including indoor and outdoor apparel, will be banned in California beginning in 2025. AB 1817 was sponsored by Clean Water Action and supported by CASA.

This is an important source reduction policy as PFAS contamination from the residential laundry is a likely pathway for PFAS in wastewater.

AB 2771 (Friedman): PFAS Ban in Cosmetics: SIGNED

The use of intentionally added PFAS in cosmetics will be banned in California beginning on Jan. 1, 2025. This is another important source reduction policy, as many cosmetic products are rinsed off and end up in wastewater.

CASA supported this bill which was sponsored by the Environmental Working Group.


California Sues Manufacturers of Toxic Forever Chemicals

By California Attorney General’s Office

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit in November against the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for endangering public health, causing irreparable harm to the state’s natural resources, and engaging in a widespread campaign to deceive the public.

The lawsuit alleges that manufacturers, including 3M and DuPont, knew or should have known that PFAS are toxic and harmful to human health and the environment. However, they continued to produce them for mass use and concealed their harms from the public. As a result, these toxic “forever chemicals” are pervasive across California’s bays, lakes, streams, and rivers; in its fish, wildlife, and soil; and in the bloodstream of 98% of Californians.

“PFAS are as ubiquitous in California as they are harmful,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As a result of a decades-long campaign of deception, PFAS are in our waters, our clothing, our houses, and even our bodies. The damage caused by 3M, DuPont, and other manufacturers of PFAS is nothing short of staggering. Without drastic action, California will be dealing with the harms of these toxic chemicals for generations.”

PFAS have been found in the blood of most Californians. Human exposure to PFAS can occur from contaminated air, water, soil, or food, and consumer products. PFAS can cause adverse health impacts, including cancer, infertility, and more.

Data from the State Water Resources Control Board shows that PFAS are in drinking, ground, and surface waters. PFAS have been detected in at least 146 public water systems serving 16 million Californians.

Requested relief includes statewide treatment and destruction of PFAS, including, but not limited to, the treatment of drinking water by regulated water systems; water drawn from private wells and unregulated systems used for drinking water and irrigation; and water from other wastewater treatment plants and systems.

The lawsuit also seeks payment of funds necessary to mitigate the impacts on human health and the environment through environmental testing, medical monitoring, public noticing, replacement water (for the period between testing and installation of treatment), and safe disposal and destruction.