California: HFOs are not PFAS
Right now, California lawmakers are debating three legislative bills (AB2771, AB2247, and AB1817) that are at risk of negatively impacting many California industries while sabotaging their own climate goals.Did you know that the HFOs (Hydrofluoroolefins) lawmakers are considering designating as PFAS and banning in specific sectors are:
low global warming potential
low VOC innovations
HFOs can be found in everyday personal and household products like cosmetics, meter-dosed inhalers (MDIs) and spray foam insulation. The United Nations, EPA and CARB have all deemed these HFOs to be safe and pose no risk to public health. HFOs are a key pathway to:
decarbonize our economy
avert climate change
and phase down potent greenhouse gases with reductions of more than 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent by 2050.
These three legislative bills are completely ignoring the science. There is critical scientific data that is not factored into consideration.On top of that, the EPA has approved HFOs without concern.
This overregulation at the state level will risk US innovation and competitiveness and impede the state’s own climate initiatives.
Bottom Line: HFOs are not toxic.
HFOs are used in everyday products like cosmetics and meter-dosed inhalers, posing no health risks to consumers.Don't let an HFO ban rob California of real climate benefits.
We urge lawmakers in the State Assembly and Senate to reconsider their support for these bills before it’s too late.
© 2022 Sustainable PFAS Action Network. All rights reserved.
What is the Sustainable PFAS Action Network (SPAN)?
SPAN is a newly formed coalition of businesses that recognizes the important societal and economic benefits that the many per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (known as PFAS) provide and the need for responsible use and management.
SPAN’s members include both companies that use and produce PFAS in a responsible manner.
SPAN’s purpose is to promote research and regulatory approaches that permit sustainable uses and science- and risk-based policies for management of PFAS through a comprehensive federal strategy that ensures protection of human health and the environment.
What are PFAS chemicals and where are they used?
PFAS chemistry is complex and there are thousands of distinct substances covered in the broadest definitions of the class with a wide diversity of physical, toxicological, and environmental impact profiles.
PFAS were first introduced in the 1940s and since then have been widely used in a variety of consumer and commercial applications. Specific molecules such as PFOA and PFOS have been phased out of US production due to environmental and health concerns.
Many PFAS uses continue to provide important, and in many cases essential, societal benefits. Current uses include military and commercial aircraft, defense, high-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, implants and other medical devices, pharmaceuticals and drug packaging, wind turbine blades, and countless building materials. Specific PFAS also play a critical role in manufacturing processes for medical equipment, alternative energy sources, semiconductors, and other products that are at the foundation of a modern economy.
What is the regulatory and legislative outlook for PFAS?
At the federal level, the U.S. EPA has already committed to a strategic approach involving research, data gathering, risk characterization, restrictions, and remediation to holistically and scientifically address PFAS concerns in the US. EPA’s comprehensive roadmap, released in 2021, will include mandatory testing requirements based on its categorization of thousands of PFAS substances into finite sub-classes based on existing data and chemical similarities; an important first step towards sustainable PFAS use.
Congress is actively considering a wide variety of legislative proposals. More than 54 proposals have been introduced in the last two years. The House has passed comprehensive PFAS legislation two years in a row. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has now stated that PFAS legislation is a top priority. Additionally, Congress has added several provisions regarding PFAS control and cleanup in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Many state legislatures and regulatory agencies are considering initiatives to restrict all or most PFAS and their uses, relying on the broadest definitions of PFAS, and ignoring the diversity of the class and the importance of certain PFAS. Both the US EPA and the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD) have stated that PFAS should not be regulated as a class, but rather as separate categories that have common risk and toxicological properties. Regulating as a single class may unwittingly prohibit critical PFAS uses that present little or no risk. A developing patchwork of state restrictions would generate chaos in commercial sectors vital to our national economic, security, and environmental interests.
What is SPAN’s role?
SPAN intends to participate in the policy and regulatory processes at the Federal and state levels, encouraging an approach based on informed assessments of environmental and health risks and taking into account critical societal and economic benefits of many PFAS applications.
SPAN members advocate for a uniform federal approach as the most reasonable means of addressing PFAS concerns. An important first step in this process is to identify the categories of PFAS that are most commonly manufactured and used and ensure that credible data and assessments are available concerning the categories’ health and environmental impacts.
SPAN will support regulatory approaches that differentiate among PFAS appropriately based on potential risk to human health and the environment, extent of releases during production and use, and the availability of safer alternatives.
SPAN will work with states that are actively pursuing PFAS legislation to foster consistent approaches and to prevent the development of an unworkable, ineffective regulatory patchwork.
Where information gaps exist, SPAN will support efficient and cost/time-sensitive data-gathering efforts.
Where risks are identified, SPAN will support practical and effective approaches to minimizing releases and exposure. In certain instances, risk-based restrictions and prohibitions on PFAS of greatest concern will be warranted and, where appropriate, exemptions for essential uses should be utilized.
About SPAN Membership: SPAN is a coalition of PFAS users and producers, that are committed to sustainable, risk-based PFAS management. Prospective members must agree to a set of principles, including agreement that certain PFAS uses can and should be controlled when they present unreasonable risks to the environment and human health risks and have ready substitutes. SPAN is working with the PFAS user and producer communities in contributing to a federal policy approach to PFAS that is both environmentally sound and economically sensible.
© 2022 Sustainable PFAS Action Network. All rights reserved.