Read the full article by Emma Cotton (VT Digger)
“The Vermont Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would regulate manufacturers selling menstrual and cosmetic products that contain PFAS and a list of other chemicals associated with human health problems.
S.25 would also ban athletic turf fields and textiles — including household textiles, clothing and outdoor apparel — that contain PFAS. The legislation wouldn’t apply to athletic turf fields that towns and cities plan to install if voters approved them before July 1, 2023.
The legislation, which now heads to the House, prohibits manufacturers from selling cosmetic products, including shampoo, makeup, deodorant, sunscreen, hair dyes and more, if they have ‘intentionally added’ any of a list of chemicals including ortho-phthalates, formaldehyde and aluminum salts.
It builds on similar legislation in California, Washington and Maryland, according to Sen. Terry Williams, R-Rutland, who presented the bill to lawmakers on the Senate floor on Tuesday. Many retailers, such as Target, Walmart and CVS, have already been moving away from products that contain the chemicals, he said.
A growing body of evidence has linked the chemical group PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, to harmful human health conditions such as cancer, developmental delays in children, suppressed immune systems and increased risk of obesity.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the first-ever drinking water standards for the chemical class. If the standard is finalized, Vermont will be required to adopt a standard that is at least as strict.
But removing PFAS from drinking water is no easy feat, and many who work on the problem say it’s best to avoid placing the chemicals in the waste stream in the first place.
‘Managing PFAS in consumer products is a cornerstone of how we need to be dealing with PFAS, generally,’ Matt Chapman, director of the state’s Waste Management and Prevention Division, told lawmakers last month.
‘Dealing with PFAS through treatment on the back end of wastewater treatment facilities, drinking water systems or at a landfill is a fairly inefficient and incredibly costly way to be dealing with PFAS,’ he said. ‘We need to be going upstream. We need to be dealing with it at the source.’
It can be hard to identify PFAS. Manufacturers sometimes aren’t sure whether the materials they’re using already contain the chemicals.
The bill would regulate PFAS that a manufacturer has ‘intentionally added to a product’ and that has ‘a functional or technical effect in the product.’ It also bans textiles that contain an amount of total organic fluorine above 100 parts per million, which can indicate the presence of PFAS.
Environmental advocates applauded the bill’s passage through the Senate.
‘Personal care products and period products are applied directly to Vermonters’ skin and intimate areas every day,’ Marcie Gallagher, an environmental advocate for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said in a press release. ‘Textiles represent the largest source of PFAS in our landfills, and children are exposed to turf over long periods of time. Every exposure pathway matters, and S.25 takes an important step to stop these harmful products from entering our marketplace.'”…