'Forever chemicals' disclosures at heart of California battle championed by public agencies and public health advocates

A broad coalition including EWG and other clean water and public health advocates is banding together to call for new disclosure requirements for manufacturers bringing into California the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

The new requirements would force manufacturers to inform Californians about PFAS they bring into the state, whether as raw chemicals used during manufacturing, or as parts or ingredients of products sold to consumers. The coalition includes California sanitation and water agencies, local cities, counties and special districts, and clean water and public health advocates.

Assembly Bill 2247, by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), requires manufacturers to report to a publicly accessible database the PFAS chemicals or PFAS-containing products and product components brought into the Golden State. These reports must begin in 2026 for the previous year’s imports.

We don’t know how all PFAS enter California, but we do know they are used in a staggering array of consumer products and commercial applications. And decades of heavy use have resulted in contamination of water, soil and the blood of people, including newborn babies, and animals in the farthest corners of the world.

PFAS are among the most persistent toxic compounds in existence, never breaking down in the environment and remaining in our bodies for years.

The number of U.S. communities confirmed to be contaminated with PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of June 2022, 2,854 locations in 50 states and two territories are known to be contaminated.

In California, PFAS pollute the water of more than 16 million residents, and this contamination appears to be growing.

A broad coalition of sanitation, water and local governments sent an alert to all state senators declaring they “need to know the source of PFAS pollution and how these chemicals enter our watersheds.” 

The alert states, in part:

Without better information about sources of PFAS local water management options are limited and costly, leading to affordability concerns for the delivery of essential public services. We need this information to take meaningful steps toward protecting the health of Californians, keeping essential public services affordable, and maintaining our environment in the long-term.

Despite far-reaching support for this measure, many industries have come out in opposition. Manufacturers and lobbying groups that represent makers of consumer and household products, animal and human pharmaceuticals, automobiles, motorcycles, computers and semiconductors are opposing A.B. 2247. These sectors don’t want to reveal more information about the PFAS they bring into the state.

The bill is pending in the California Senate and must pass out of the legislature by midnight on August 31.

A.B. 2247 is cosponsored by EWG, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and Clean Water Action.

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