Policy Update

Washington State Enacts Legislation to Address PFAS Chemicals

March 31, 2022

Region

Northwest

NCEL Point of Contact

Mara Herman
Environmental Health Manager

Contact

Bill Speeds Up Timeline for Restrictions on PFAS in Products

On March 31, Washington’s governor signed HB 1694 into law, sponsored by Representative Liz Berry, to step up action on PFAS in products. The bill speeds up the timeline for restricting PFAS in products under the Safer Products for Washington Act, which directs state agencies to identify sources of exposure, reduce exposure, and ban harmful chemicals. Under HB 1694, the Department of Ecology (DOE) would have until 2024 to evaluate alternatives and develop regulations for PFAS in listed products, including raincoats, apparel, waxes, sealants, cosmetics, and firefighter personal protective equipment. Final regulations would be required by 2025.

What are PFAS Chemicals

PFAS are commonly referred to as forever chemicals because they do not break down and remain in the environment and people for decades. They are linked to a wide array of health problems. Health impacts can include increased risk of cancer, immune suppression, reproductive issues, and developmental effects and delays for children.

Why HB 1694 Matters

The Washington DOE is currently working to restrict PFAS in other products, such as carpets, rugs, and other home furnishings, but has not yet taken action on all of the products identified in its PFAS chemical action plan. Typically, the DOE adds products to the priority list every five years. HB 1694 will accelerate that timeline to ensure that the DOE will act on more products before the next 5-year cycle established under the Safer Products for Washington Act.