Massachusetts and California Bills Target PFAS in Cookware
Massachusetts and California have pending bills that would impact the use of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in cookware.
Massachusetts H.2350 and S.1387 (identical bills) call for the general prohibition of selling or distributing select consumer products in which “Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances” or “PFAS substances” have been intentionally added or, if not intentionally added, are present and measurable by testing for total fluorine at a level greater than 1 part per million (ppm). The bill defines “PFAS substances” as “a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.” One of the classes of consumer products covered by the pending bill is cookware. Prior to the effective date of the ban, manufacturers of covered products must test products for fluorine to determine whether the PFAS substances are present at levels greater than 1 ppm.
A hearing on H.2350/S.1387 was held by the Joint Committee on Public Health on June 22, 2021. During the hearing, the possibility of exemptions for medical products was discussed. However, for other consumer products (including cookware), several speakers noted that there are suitable replacements/alternatives to PFAS.
California’s AB 1200 would establish labeling requirements cookware that contains chemicals designated on the state’s Green Chemistry list of chemicals of concern. As of January 1, 2023, manufacturers of cookware containing such chemicals would be required to post on the internet the listed chemicals contained in their cookware products and link to the authoritative lists for the relevant substances. As of January 1, 2024, cookware would be required to include listed chemicals on the product label, and provide an internet link and toll-free number where consumers can obtain more information on the chemicals. In addition, as of January 1, 2024, it would prohibit cookware manufacturers from claiming that cookware is free of any specific chemical on the list if the chemical belongs to the same chemical group or class of chemicals that are listed. All PFAS chemicals are candidate chemicals under California’s Green Chemistry program. (For more information on the program as it relates to this bill, see the Senate Committee on Health’s June 21, 2021, analysis of the bill, which is accessible through the link above.) The bill also would prohibit food packaging comprised in substantial part of paper or other materials originally derived from plant fibers from containing intentionally added PFAS as of January 1, 2023.