Pennsylvania Moves to Ban “Forever Chemicals” in Consumer Products

Pennsylvania Capitol

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania State House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee passed House Bill 2238 on Tuesday, aiming to ban per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from a wide range of products by 2027. The bill, sponsored by state Representative Greg Scott of Norristown, Montgomery County, seeks to address the health risks posed by these persistent chemicals.

PFAS, often called “forever chemicals,” are used to make products water-resistant, durable, or slippery. They do not break down in the environment, leading to long-term contamination. Studies have linked PFAS exposure to serious health issues, including kidney and liver disease, immune system suppression, birth defects, and cancer.

House Bill 2238 targets PFAS in various consumer products. Items affected include non-stick cookware, food packaging, textiles, cosmetics, and even artificial turf. By 2027, manufacturers and retailers will be prohibited from using PFAS in these products. The sale of outdoor apparel designed for extreme wet weather conditions will be phased out by 2029. By 2033, the law will expand to ban intentionally added PFAS in additional products, with exceptions for medical devices.

Stephanie Wein, Clean Water and Conservation Advocate for PennEnvironment, praised the committee’s decision. “Today was a great first step toward protecting Pennsylvanians from toxic PFAS in the products we use every day,” she said. Wein emphasized that consumers should trust the safety of everyday items, highlighting the importance of HB 2238 in achieving this goal.

Pennsylvania Taking Lead in PFAS Regulation

The bill’s passage could have significant implications. If enacted, Pennsylvania would join a growing list of states taking action against PFAS. This legislation would not only safeguard public health but also push manufacturers to find safer alternatives.

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PFAS are pervasive, found in items ranging from non-stick pans to cosmetics and food packaging. Their resistance to breaking down means they accumulate in the environment and human body over time. The potential health impacts make regulation crucial.

The Department of Environmental Protection will enforce the new rules and impose penalties for violations. This step represents a proactive approach to managing chemical risks in consumer products.

House Bill 2238’s progress marks a significant effort to eliminate harmful substances from everyday life. As the bill advances, it highlights the ongoing need for legislative action to protect public health and the environment.

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