California governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on a law prohibiting the production and sale of clothing and textiles containing PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) in the state of California.
Beginning in 2025, the policy includes first-in-the-nation bans on PFAS in handbags, accessories, and clothing (both indoor and outdoor). Manufacturers will be required to report the presence of PFAS in the products as of 2025, and PFAS will be eliminated from outdoor clothing for extremely wet circumstances as of 2028. As they transition away from PFAS, manufacturers are required by law to employ the least harmful alternative.
A law that would prohibit PFAS in clothing is also pending the governor's approval in New York. Additionally, Washington State is contemplating taking similar action on PFAS in clothing within its current regulatory framework.
Erika Schreder, TFF's science director, said that they can't continue to use these toxic chemicals to clean their garments now that they know PFAS can affect human health at very low levels of exposure. Getting them out of clothing and textiles will help protect every family.
All of the analyzed samples from a 2021 study conducted by TFF, the University of Washington, and Indiana University revealed the presence of PFAS in breastmilk. The study also showed that some PFAS, such as those used in textiles, are increasing every four years.
Sujatha Bergen told the Natural Resources Defense Council that "the utility that PFAS provides—a more stain-resistant coat or more breathable yet water-resistant workout shorts—is not necessary and certainly not worth the health hazards" (NRDC). Before, they managed quite well without these chemicals, and brands could quickly phase them out if they so desired.
Even while eliminating these dangerous substances is more difficult said than done, the PFAS group includes more than 4,700 synthetic chemicals that are employed in a variety of sectors besides fashion. PFAS is commonly used in a variety of product categories, including cookware, packaging, and cosmetics.
The European Environment Agency reiterated that "a substance-by-substance risk assessment and management approach is not adequate to efficiently prevent risk to the environment and human health from a single PFAS or mixtures of them," despite the chemical industry's plans to lobby against a widespread ban.
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