Proposed law would phase out the sale of “forever chemicals” in Colorado

Carpeting, furniture, cosmetics, cookware and other products containing PFAS — or forever chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects — would be banned for sale in Colorado under a new proposal from state lawmakers.

The toxic chemicals have contaminated groundwater across the state and caused public officials and environmentalists to turn their attention to the damage caused by the PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The chemicals are likely seeping into hundreds of water sources across the state and the contamination is so substantial that Attorney General Phil Weiser filed a lawsuit in late February against companies that produce the chemicals.

“In Colorado, our water supply is precious, and even small amounts of PFAS have been linked to serious health problems,” Democratic bill sponsor state Rep. Lisa Cutter said in a release. “We can’t afford to equivocate on the well-being of our water and the health of our residents, and this is an important step to eliminate this dangerous toxin from our environment.”

The bipartisan measure, House Bill 1345, would, by Jan. 1, 2024, prohibit the sale of products containing PFAS which include:

  • Carpets or rugs.
  • Cookware
  • Cosmetics.
  • Fabric treatments.
  • Food packaging.
  • Childrens’ products.
  • Oil and gas products.
  • Textile furnishings.
  • Upholstered furniture.

Between the start of the initial ban and 2030, the bill would then require the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to identify even more products that would be prohibited from being sold in Colorado.

PFAS are also used in certain firefighting foams. While the bill would grant exemptions for some of those foams, it would also require their use to be reported to state officials within 24 hours.

Republican state Rep. Mary Bradfield, who is also sponsoring the measure, said in a release that the Widefield Aquifer in her district is also the largest PFAS contamination of groundwater in the state. The bill creates a timeline for the removal of products containing the forever chemicals and replacing them with safer options, she said.

“Now that we know that PFAS is a potential health risk, we could be very surprised about how many products intentionally contain the PFAS compounds,” Bradfield said.

Not only does the bill have bipartisan support in the House but it also has the backing of multiple environmental groups like Metro Water Recovery, GreenLatinos and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

Cutter said the bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Energy and Environment Committee in mid-April.

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