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Sunday, October 2, 2022

California Bans ‘Forever Chemicals' in Fabrics, Makeup

By Bay City News

Generic makeup

Long-lasting chemicals that may be harmful to humans and animals were banned in textiles, cosmetics and personal care products on Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom when he signed two bills into law.

The chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS break down very slowly and some studies have shown that exposure to the substances in the environment may be harmful, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

California is the first state to ban PFAS in textiles. The ban goes into effect in 2025 for many fabrics. The new laws come following two studies by the Green Science Policy Institute, which promotes the safer use of chemicals for human and ecological health.

"The bills just signed by California Governor Newsom banning PFAS in textiles and cosmetics model the best way to stop harm from PFAS: reduce their use in products," said Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute. "Once PFAS escape into our air, water, and soil, they stay forever and harm our children and all of us. These two bills will make products, people, and our planet healthier."

PFAS, which are known as "forever chemicals," are commonly used in clothing and household items to make them resistant to water and stains.

"California just set a hugely important fashion and beauty trend: PFAS-free clothes and makeup," said Rebecca Fuoco spokesperson for the Green Science Policy Institute, based in Berkeley. "Hopefully brands will get ahead of the curve and stop using forever chemicals even before the mandates kick in."

Outdoor apparel manufacturers have until 2028 to switch to safer substitutes for PFAS. The new textile law, which was introduced as Assembly Bill 1817 by Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, allows PFAS to be used in carpets and rugs as well as for firefighting equipment.

The new law banning PFAS in cosmetics and personal care products was introduced as Assembly Bill 2771. Both laws will benefit the entire U.S. considering the size of the California market for clothing and makeup, according to the Green Science Policy Institute.

How harmful PFAS are to people and the environment is not fully understood, the EPA says on its website. 

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