California Restricts PFAS in Clothing and Cosmetics; Governor Vetoes PFAS Reporting Bill

On September 29, 2022, California Governor Newsom signed California AB 1817, which bans the manufacture and sale of clothing and textile items containing PFAS, and AB 2771, which restricts PFAS in cosmetics. Both prohibitions are implemented beginning January 1, 2025.

On the same day, Governor Newsom vetoed AB 2247, which would have required product manufacturers to report to the state by July 1, 2026 if their products contained intentionally added PFAS. Any products sold in California that were intended for personal, residential, commercial, or industrial use, or for use in making other products, would have been in scope.

Ban on PFAS in Clothing and Textiles

AB 1817 applies generally to everyday and formal clothing but provides an extension for outdoor apparel used in “severe wet conditions.” Manufacturers of this outerwear, designed for exposure to extreme rain conditions or extended immersion in water or wet weather, are allowed an extension until January 1, 2028, but must be labeled as containing PFAS beginning in 2025. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as firefighting gear, is exempt from legislation. In enacting this bill, the legislature recognized that alternatives for PFAS in PPE are not yet readily available.

Ban on PFAS in Cosmetics

AB 2771 prohibits intentionally added PFAS to retail and professional sales of cosmetics, a term defined broadly to include a wide variety of personal care products. The law defines “intentionally added” to include PFAS chemicals added into the product as well as PFAS chemicals that are intentional breakdown products of an added chemical. Opponents of the bill expressed concern that the PFAS definition was overbroad, requiring the prohibition of Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), which have undergone significant testing by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for safety and environmental impacts. Other concerns included the lack of a phased approach or “sell-through” date in the legislation.

Veto of Proposed Reporting Requirements

In his veto message on AB 2247, Governor Newsom cited cost to the state as a factor. He also characterized the bill as premature given EPA’s proposal under the Toxic Substances Control Act to require reporting the presence of PFAS in imported articles, as well as the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s current authority under the Safer Consumer Products Program. The bill also shared similarities with an enacted law in Maine that will require manufacturers to report the presence of PFAS in products by January 1, 2023, unless they obtain an extension from the state.

Beveridge & Diamond's Textile and Fashion practice group advises companies in the textiles and fashion industry on many global environmental and sustainability issues at play. We combine our experience in the field and insights from advising adjacent industries – such as agriculture, food, and global supply chains – to offer comprehensive environmental, health, and safety support to our clients. Our Consumer Products industry group works with U.S. and multinational companies that make, distribute, transport, or sell consumer products in a hyper-competitive and evolving consumer goods market to help them identify, understand, and comply with complex regulatory requirements throughout the product lifecycle. B&D’s Chemicals Regulation practice group and Chemicals industry group provide strategic, business-focused advice to the global chemicals industry. With an office in California, our team includes lawyers with experience with California PFAS regulations specifically. For more information, please contact the authors.