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US: Maine Designates PFOS and Its Salts as Priority Chemicals

AUGUST 2020 – RELEVANT FOR: ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, SOFTLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

Last year, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) proposed1 to include perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and its salts as priority chemicals. After the completion of two public comment periods, the Department has finally adopted the rule chapter 8902 to designate the following substances as priority chemicals, effective from 28 July 2020.

  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) (CAS No. 1763-23-1);
  • Potassium perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS No. 2795-39-3);
  • Lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS No. 29457-72-5);
  • Ammonium perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS No. 29081-56-9); and 
  • Diethanolammonium perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS No. 70225-14-8).

Under the Safer Chemicals in Children’s Products rule, manufacturers or distributors who sell the specified products within Maine must submit a one-time reporting notice to the Department if the products have been intentionally added with the priority chemicals3. They must submit the notice no later than 180 days after the effective date of chapter 890, which is 28 July 2020. If the sale of the product commences after the 180-day reporting period, the notice must be submitted within 30 days after the product is available for sale. Reports can be submitted by email with a one-time reporting fee.

Below are the product categories that require reporting:

  • Child care article;
  • Clothing;
  • Footwear;
  • Sleepwear;
  • Toy;
  • Cookware, tableware, reusable food and beverage containers;
  • Cosmetics and personal care products;
  • Craft supplies;
  • Electronic device; and
  • Household furniture and furnishings

Information required in the reporting shall contain:

  • Identification of the manufacturer or distributor (e.g. name, address and phone number);
  • Detail product description (e.g. component size and accessibility);
  • Amount of regulated PFOS or its salts in each product unit;
  • Function of the regulated PFOS or its salts in the product;
  • The number of product units sold or distributed in Maine or nationally;
  • Any other information relevant to the reporting of the regulated PFOS or its salts, such as independent scientific study on exposure of the chemicals.

PFOS and its salts are resistant to oil, grease, water and heat; therefore, they have been used in many common consumer products such as non-stick cookware, some personal care products as well as stain- or water-resistant clothing, carpets and furniture. However, they are not only harmful to human health, but also very persistent in the environment and bioaccumulative in wildlife. Many agencies in the US, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are now working on regulating these substances.

The Department may designate additional priority chemicals if it finds that the chemicals meet any of the criteria specified in the relevant Statutes. The last amendment made was the addition of two flame retardants – decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) and hexabromocylododecane (HBCD) in 20174.

[1] USA: Maine proposed PFOS as priority chemical, April 2019

[2] Rule Chapter 890 for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection

[3] Priority Chemicals list, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

[4] USA: Maine adds two flame retardants as priority chemicals, March 2017

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