Back in October, California launched a “first of its kind” legal case against the use of “forever chemicals” in fashion, toiletries, and household items sold in the state. Known as PFAS – or polyfluoroalkyl substances for you science-y types out there – these chemicals have been used in products like these since the 1940s. With that said, recent studies have shown that they can actually cause harm to the environment, and have also been linked to developmental effects in children, including reduced immunity, a disruption in hormones, and also an increased risk of cancer.
Now, it looks like New York will be joining The Golden State in banning PFAS under a law signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. The bill, eloquently named S6291A, makes it illegal to use PFAS in apparel, which is described as “clothing items intended for regular wear or formal occasions including, but not limited to, undergarments, shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, overalls, bodysuits, vests, dancewear, suits, saris, scarves, tops, leggings, leisurewear, formal wear, onesies, bibs, and diapers.” Basically everything.
“It’s fantastic to see New York joining California in phasing out toxic ‘forever’ PFAS chemicals in clothes.” explains Avi Kar, Senior Attorney and Senior Director for Health & Food at the National Resource Defense Council. “It’s important that we do away with unnecessary uses of these harmful chemicals wherever possible to protect people’s health and safety,”
The S6291A legislation will also focus on beauty and cosmetic products. North Carolina’s Burt’s Bees, whose slogan is “Nature Becomes You,” came under fire last February when Daniela Gruen purchased several products from the brand and found that its “100% natural” range contained high levels of PFAS which it failed to disclose. Less than one month later, a lawsuit was filed against L’Oreal in the New York federal court alleging that the French personal care conglomerate doesn’t let consumers know that its mascara and other products contain the toxic chemical – because, apparently, you’re not worth it.
New York’s PFAS bill is expected to go into full effect on the last day of the year on December 31st, 2023. The state hopes that, with the implementation of such a law, it will stop companies and brands from using PFAS in their products, not only in North America, but globally, as well.
In other news, California’s wide-ranging fur ban has finally arrived. 2023 is off to a pretty positive start, so here’s hoping that these good vibes carry through to the rest of the year.
Text: Adam Cheung
Images: Pixabay / Yogendra Singh