Newsom signs laws banning “forever chemicals” in children’s products and food packaging

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California government Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomFauci: “I Agree” with Newsom Vaccination Order for California Students Governor of West Virginia: “No Chance” for Vaccination Order for Students Overnight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Merck’s COVID-19 pill reduces hospitalization risk by half MORE (D) signed two laws banning the use of toxic “forever chemicals” in children’s products and single-use food packaging and a package of bills for overhauling the state’s recycling operations on Tuesday, its office said in the evening.

“California’s hallmark is solving problems through innovation, and we are using that spirit to reduce the waste that fills our landfills and creates the harmful pollutants that are causing the climate crisis,” Newsom said in a press release.

The pollutants that drive the first two laws are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of toxic compounds associated with kidney, liver, immune, developmental, and reproductive problems. These so-called “forever chemicals” are best known for polluting waterways with fire extinguishing foam, but they are also important components in a number of household products such as non-stick pans, toys, makeup, fast food containers and waterproof clothing.

One of the laws introduced by MP Laura Friedman (D) bans the use of PFAS in children’s products such as car seats and cots from July 1, 2023, according to the governor’s office.

“As a mother, I find it difficult to think of a higher priority than the safety and well-being of my child,” Friedman said in a press release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “PFAS have been linked to serious health problems, including hormonal imbalances, kidney and liver damage, thyroid disease, and immune system disorders.

“This new law ends the use of PFAS in products intended for our children,” she added.

Bill Allayaud, the EEC’s California government affairs director, praised Newsom “for giving parents confidence that the products they buy for their children are free of toxic PFAS”.

“It is encouraging that the chemical industry has teamed up with consumer advocates on this legislation to find a sensible solution as public awareness of the health risks from PFAS exposure increases,” he said in a statement.

As the PFAS coating on child car seats and bedding wears out over time, the EEC says the toxins can end up in the dust that children may breathe.

The second PFAS-related law proposed by MP Philip Ting (D) bans intentionally added PFAS from food packaging and requires cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of PFAS and other chemicals on products and labels online – starting January 1, 2023.

“PFAS chemicals have been a hidden threat to our health for far too long,” Ting said in a second press release from the EWG. “I applaud the governor for signing my law that allows us to target and limit some of the harmful toxins that come into contact with our food.”

Despite the generally recognized risks of PFAS exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency has only set “health recommendation levels” for the two most well-known compounds, rather than regulating the more than 5,000 types of PFAS. States like California have therefore started to enact their own laws. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill in July requiring the EPA to set standards, accompanying legislation has yet to reach the Senate.

“This bill adds extra momentum to the fight against non-essential uses of PFAS,” David Andrews, a senior scientist with the EWG, said in a statement. “California has joined forces to protect Americans from the entire family of toxic chemicals.”

As for recycling, Newsom signed a law banning the use of misleading recycling labels, as well as a law aimed at increasing consumer awareness and industry accountability. According to his office, the recycling bills are being used to top up a portion of the US $ 270 million national budget that will go towards modernizing recycling systems and promoting a circular economy.

Other measures in the recycling package include provisions to prevent the export of plastic that becomes waste, more flexibility for operations in beverage packaging recycling centers and labeling requirements to ensure that products labeled as “compostable” are truly compostable.

“With today’s actions and bold investments to transform our recycling systems, the state continues to lead the way to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet and all of our communities,” Newsom said.

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