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Client Alert

State Laws Restricting PFAS in Textiles Begin Taking Effect in 2023

January 26, 2023

With Congress introducing over 50 bills aimed at regulating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the last session alone—with little to show for it—states are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to addressing PFAS in consumer products, including food packaging, cosmetics, cookware, products for infants and children, and textiles.

New York, California, Colorado, and Maine are the first out of the gate to enact legislation restricting the use of “intentionally added” or “regulated” PFAS in textiles. While the definitions of “intentionally added” and “regulated” PFAS vary amongst the states, they are generally defined as the deliberate addition of PFAS for an intended function or technical effect in the product. The states have taken distinct approaches when it comes to the scope of textiles regulated by the new laws. In broad terms, New York is focused narrowly on apparel; Colorado on carpets, rugs, fabric treatments, textile furnishings, and upholstered furniture; and Maine on new carpets, rugs, and fabric treatments. By contrast, California takes aim at a wider target, including, among other products, apparel, accessories, furnishings, and upholstery, but excludes certain categories of textiles, such as rugs and carpets; components parts of vehicles, vessels, and aircrafts; architectural fabric structures; and treatments containing PFAS for use on converted textiles or leathers. Notably, California’s law requires textile manufacturers to provide persons that offer textile products for sale or distribution in the state with a certificate of compliance. Distributors and retailers will not be held liable for violations of California’s new law if they relied in good faith on the certificate of compliance provided to them by the manufacturer. 

If your company is involved in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of textiles into these states, you will want to confirm whether the new laws apply to your business and take appropriate steps to ensure compliance.

Key effective dates include:

  • January 1, 2023: Maine prohibits the sale or distribution of new carpets, rugs, and fabric treatments containing intentionally added PFAS.
  • December 31, 2023: New York will prohibit the sale of any apparel containing intentionally added PFAS in the state, which covers clothing items intended for regular and formal wear, but excludes professional uniforms and outerwear intended for extreme conditions.
  • January 1, 2024: Colorado will prohibit the sale or distribution of intentionally added PFAS in carpets, rugs, and fabric treatments.
  • January 1, 2025:
    • Colorado will prohibit the sale or distribution of intentionally added PFAS in indoor textile furnishings (e.g., draperies, floor coverings, furnishings, bedding, towels, and tablecloths) and indoor upholstered furniture (e.g., furniture that is partially or completely stuffed with filling material).
    • California will prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or sale of any new textile articles that contain “regulated PFAS” (i.e., PFAS that have been intentionally added for a functional or technical effect or that are present at or above certain thresholds). Textile articles include goods that are customarily and ordinally used in households and businesses (e.g., apparel, accessories, backpacks, draperies, shower curtains, furnishings, upholstery, bedding, towels, napkins and tablecloths).
    • California will prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or sale of any new (i.e., not previously used) outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions that contains regulated PFAS (such as outdoor apparel used for offshore fishing, offshore sailing, whitewater kayaking, and mountaineering), unless the product is accompanied by a legible and easily discernible disclosure that states, “Made with PFAS chemicals.” The disclosure must be legible and easily discernible via online listings as well.
  • January 1, 2027: Colorado will prohibit the sale or distribution of intentionally added PFAS in outdoor textile furnishings and outdoor upholstered furniture.
  • January 1, 2028: California will prohibit the manufacture, distribution, or sale of any new outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Godfrey & Kahn can help, contact Sarah Schenck or any member of the Environmental Strategies Group.

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