August 6, 2021
by Raissa Havens, regulatory specialist, UL’s Supply Chain Insights
The U.S. state of Maine became the first in the world to prohibit the sale of products containing intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These human-made chemicals, known as PFAS, have been used in formulas for many types of products. They can persist in the environment and in the human body for a long period of time, with an increasing number of studies showing adverse human health impacts.
The law adopted a phase-out plan, where new products containing PFAS cannot be sold as of Jan. 1, 2030. However, for new carpets, rugs and fabric treatments, the ban starts on Jan. 1, 2023.
While the ban for other products does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2030, manufacturers, which include importers and domestic distributors, have new responsibilities as soon as the ban goes into effect. The presence of PFAS chemicals in any product must be reported to the Maine Department of Environmental Quality starting in January 2023.
This notification must include:
- A description of the product
- The purpose of using PFAS in the product or a product component
- The amount of each type of PFAS in the product
- The contact information of the manufacturer (name and address)
- Any additional information required by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
The DEP might require the manufacturer to pay a fee upon submission of the required notification information.
Exemptions to this law will be determined by the DEP, which can appoint that the use of PFAS in certain products is currently unavoidable. According to the regulation, this is defined as “use of PFAS that the department has determined by rule under this section to be essential for health, safety or the functioning of society and for which alternatives are not reasonably available.” The law is also exempt for the sale or resale of used products.
Recommended action items
- Review your company’s products that are being sold in Maine to determine whether any of your products contain intentionally added PFAS or fall under the currently unavoidable use category.
- Seek substitute ingredient(s) if your products don’t comply with the requirements.
- Provide the required notice to the Maine DEP by Jan. 1, 2023.