May 10, 2023
By Judith Haber, technical manager, Retail Consumer Products team, UL Solutions
Over the past few years, there has been growing concern about the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in consumer products. In the United States, several states have begun to regulate PFAS in consumer products. PFAS are a large complex group of manufactured chemicals. These toxic substances, known as “forever chemicals,” are extremely persistent in the environment, which means their concentration in the environment will increase without any possibility of degradation. The exposure of humans and the environment to these substances will inevitably lead to negative effects.
PFAS include thousands of man-made substances that are used in numerous applications, including textiles, food packaging, cosmetics, lubricants, refrigerants, electronics, construction and many more.
In the United States, due to the lack of federal regulations banning the use of PFAS in consumer products, many state legislatures are acting to mitigate the use of these chemicals in various consumer products. Several states have already adopted policies that prohibit the intentional addition of PFAS in various consumer products, including but not limited to cosmetics, juvenile products, food packaging, cookware, rugs and carpets, fabric treatments, indoor and outdoor upholstered furniture, apparel, textiles and more. The state of Maine Chapter 477 Public Law will prohibit the use of intentionally added PFAS in any product be sold, offered for sale, or distributed for sale in the state effective Jan. 1, 2030.
Product manufacturers are responsible for ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. But as the focus on PFAS in the U.S. intensifies, and states adopt policies that may not be consistent with one another, manufacturers may find it challenging to determine compliance. Therefore, relevant enterprises should understand these requirements as early as possible and investigate the presence of PFAS in their products. Manufacturers must know what chemicals are being added to their products.
UL Solutions can assist customers in finding strategies for navigating PFAS regulation and compliance, both in terms of testing and communication along the supply chain.
Moreover, we can provide support and training to help prepare you for regulatory changes and upcoming restrictions for PFAS.
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