Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) | State Legislation

3/11/2020

What Are PFAS?

Graphic representing chemicals.Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyls (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals not found naturally in the environment.

The PFAS group includes chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),GenX and others. Produced since the 1940s, PFAS chemicals, used in food packaging, stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products such as Teflon, and fire-fighting foams, have been linked to cancers and other health issues. While PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the U.S. they are still produced internationally and are imported into the nation via a variety of consumer goods. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and negative immunological effects in laboratory animals. 

Since PFASs are man-made, there are no natural sources in the environment. They are found near areas where they are manufactured or where products containing PFAS are used and discarded. These chemicals can travel long distances, move through the soil, seep into groundwater, or be carried through the air. They are also found in over 95 percent of people in this country.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently produced a toxicological profile on PFAS, outlining how people can be exposed and possibly harmed by these chemicals.  EPA established a health advisory--but not a regulatory standard—for PFAS in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

The Federal government is looking for methods to address, regulate and monitor these chemicals in a variety of ways.

Notably, the executive branch has unveiled a formal PFAS Action Plan outlining the long-and-short term actions EPA plans to take surrounding the chemicals which contains, but is not limited to —developing a maximum containment level for states and local water utilities via the Safe Drinking Water Act; listing PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act also known as Superfund; consider listing the chemicals in the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); and develop new and better methods to detect the chemicals in drinking water, soil and groundwater.

To date, the agency has issued groundwater cleanup guidance, proposed a positive regulatory determination for PFOS and PFOA, issued a proposal ensuring that new uses of certain chemicals within the class cannot be manufactured or imported without notification and review under the Toxic Substances Control Act, among others.

While the administration continues to work towards regulating the chemicals, Congress is also working to develop legislation to address them – with over 45 pieces of legislation within the 116th Congress alone.

State Efforts

Several states are beginning to address PFAS chemicals. The North Carolina legislature enacted legislation funding the monitoring and treatment of PFAS, specifically the chemical GenX. A New York bill requires the department of health to perform biomonitoring studies (studying the extent of chemicals in people). The Washington Department of Health plans to test several hundred water systems in the state for trace contamination of more than a dozen chemicals found in some firefighting foams.

Michigan has adopted a groundwater maximum contamination level of 70 ppt for PFAS, which is in line with the EPA recommendation. New Jersey adopted a drinking water contamination level of 14 ppt, and Vermont adopted a level of 20 ppt. 

PFAS State Statutes
STATE STATUS YEAR SUMMARY
Alaska      
S 19 Chap. 3 2019 Capital Budget - It is the intent of the legislature that the Department of Environmental Conservation collect data on as many per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as possible, even if that data is not being presently analyzed, to build a baseline of data that will be necessary for understanding the amount of PFAS contamination in soil and water across the state, to estimate the cost of clean up, and to develop a long-term plan of action. The substances for which data should be collected include  perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),
California      
A 756 Chap. 162 2019 Public Water Systems: Perfluoroalkyl Substances - Authorizes the State Water Resources Control Board to order a public water system to monitor for perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Requires a community water system or a nontransient noncommunity water system, upon detection of these substances, to report that detection.
Georgia      
H 458 Chap. 235 2019 Prohibits Use of Certain Fire Fighting Foam - Relates to regulation of fire and other hazards to persons and property generally, so as to prohibit the use of class B fire-fighting foam for testing purposes if such foam contains a certain class of fluoridated organic chemicals; provides for definitions; provides for exceptions; provides for related matters.
Guam      
B 1 b Chap. 35-25 2019 Water Protection - Protects the waters of Guam by authorizing the acquisition of specialized legal services, on a contingency fee basis, to assist in actions concerning PFAS Contamination on Guam.
Maine      
H 1043; LD 1433 Chap. 277 2019 Toxic Chemicals in Packaging - Amends the laws regarding the reduction of toxic chemicals in packaging; prohibits the sale of food packaging to which phthalates have been intentionally introduced; authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to, by rule, prohibit the sale of food packaging to which perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been intentionally introduced upon a determination by the Department that a safer alternative exists.
Minnesota      
H 359 Chap. 47   Flame Retardant Chemical Use - Relates to health; prohibits the use of certain flame-retardant chemicals in certain products; provides definitions.
New Hampshire      
H 737 Chap. 335 2019 Establishes a commission to investigate and analyze the environmental and public health impacts relating to releases of perfluorinated chemicals in the air, soil, and groundwater in Merrimack, Bedford, and Litchfield.
S 257 Chap. 337 2019 Perfluoroalkyl Chemical Foams - Prohibits the use of foams containing perfluoroalkyl chemicals in fighting fires; it requires manufacturers or other persons that sell firefighting personnel protective equipment to provide written notice to the purchaser at the time of sale, if the equipment contains PFAS chemicals.
New York      
S 5198 Chap. 245 2017 Authorizes the village of Hoosick Falls, county of Rensselaer, to issue certain bonds to reimburse the village for extraordinary expenses incurred in connection with the discovery of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
A 445; S 439 Chap. 702 2019 Use of PFAS Chemicals in Firefighting Activities - Relates to reducing the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting activities.
North Carolina      
S 433 Chap. 241 2019 Local Environmental and Public Health Impacts - Department of Natural and Cultural Resources - coordinate these faculty and resources to conduct nontargeted analysis for PFAS, including GenX, at all public water supply surface water intakes and one public water supply well selected by each municipal water system that operates groundwater wells for public drinking water supplies as identified by the Department of Environmental Quality, to establish a water quality baseline for all sampling sites.
Pennsylvania      
HR 682 Adopted 2018 Urges the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to select the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster and Horsham, Warrington and Warminster Townships for an exposure assessment and study on human health implications of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances contamination.
H 1410 Chap. 101 2019 Military Installation Remediation - revises the guidelines for the Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Remediation Program.
Vermont      
S 49 Ch. 21 2019 Drinking Water Substance Regulation - Adopts a maximum contaminant level for polyfluoroalkyl substances under the Agency of Natural Resources's Water Supply Rule; requires the Secretary of Natural Resources to amend the Quality Standards to include criteria or effluent limitations for polyfluoroalkyl substances; requires landfills to treat leachate for polyfluoroalkyl substances prior to delivery to a wastewater treatment facility or other facility where the leachate would be discharged to the waters of the state.
Washington      
H 2658/S 6396 Chap. 138 2018 Revises provisions relating to the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging; prohibits the manufacture and sale of food packaging to which PFAS chemicals have been intentionally added in any amount.
S 6413 Chap. 286 2018 Establishes criteria to reduce certain chemicals in firefighting activities; restricts the manufacturing, selling, and distributing of Class B firefighting foam to which PFAS chemicals have been intentionally added; requires a recall of Class B firefighting foam products and reimbursements to retailers; provides that the Department shall assist local entities in giving priority and preference to the purchase of firefighter personal protective equipment without PFAS chemicals; provides for civil liabilities.
H 1102; S 5134 Chap. 13 2019 Capital Budget - The appropriation in this section is subject to the following conditions and limitations: $400,000 is provided solely for the department of ecology to continue the characterization of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in source areas that impact the Issaquah valley aquifer and to design a pilot corrective action cleanup plan.
H 119; S 5153 Chap. 415 2019 Appropriations - $4,482,000 of the model toxics control operating account-"state appropriation is provided solely for the department to implement recommendations that come from chemical action plans (CAP), such as the interim recommendations addressing PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) contamination in drinking water and sources of that contamination.
H 1194; S 5135 Chap. 292 2019 Toxic Pollution Prevention - Provides for the prevention of toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment; requires manufacturers of children and consumer products containing a priority chemical to provide notice of such annually
Wisconsin      
A 323; S 310 Chap. 101 2019 Fire Fighting Foam Regulation - Provides for regulating fire fighting foam that contains certain contaminants.

 

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