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USA: California restricts PFAS in textile articles

OCTOBER 2022 - HARDLINES, SOFTLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

California has passed bill AB 18171 to phase out the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals in apparel and textiles. This bill aims to protect the adverse effects of PFAS on human health and eliminate their uses. The restriction will apply from 1 January 2025. 

Textile articles containing PFAS chemicals are within the scope, which is defined broadly including textiles ordinarily used in households and businesses e.g., apparel, accessories, backpacks, footwear, sheets, towels, tablecloths, upholstery, etc. The manufacturer is required to provide a certificate of compliance to demonstrate the textile articles do not contain regulated PFAS. In particular, the requirements for outdoor wear for severe wet conditions will apply later. 

Table A shows the details of the bill. Textile articles shall not contain total organic fluorine at or more than 100 ppm from 1 January 2025 and, the limit value is lowered to 50 ppm in 2027.

Several bills related to PFAS are already enacted in California including phasing out of PFAS in plant-based food packaging (AB 12002), children’s products (AB 6523) and firefighting foam (SB 10444). While Bill AB 12015 was passed last year, banning the use of PFAS in products labelled as “compostable” to prevent PFAS from contaminating agricultural soil. 

Table A: Details of AB 1817 – PFAS restriction in textile articles

Parameter Details
Scope

Textile articles that are ordinarily used in households and businesses e.g., clothing items for regular wear or formal occasions, footwear, workwear, outdoor apparel, accessories, handbags, backpacks, towels, tablecloths, draperies, bedding, upholstery, etc. 

Note: “Textile” means any item made in whole or part from a natural, manmade, or synthetic fibre, yarn, or fabric, and includes, but is notlimited to, leather, cotton, silk, jute, hemp, wool, viscose, nylon, or polyester.

Regulated PFAS

PFAS refers to a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.

Regulated PFAS means either of the following:

  • PFAS which are intentionally added to a product with a functional or technical effect that covers PFAS that are intentional breakdown products of an added chemical that also have such effect in the product, or
  • The presence of PFAS in a product or its component at or above the limit values, as measured in total organic fluorine:
  •  Starting from 1 January 2025, 100 ppm
  •  Starting from 1 January 2027, 50 ppm 
Requirements
  • Textile articles (excluding outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions) shall not contain regulated PFAS manufactured, distributed, sell or offer for sale in California: 
  • The requirements for outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions will apply until 1 January 2028. However, starting from 1 January 2025, products containing PFAS shall be accompanied by the statement “Made with PFAS chemicals”, including for online selling.

    Such outdoor apparel is designed for outdoor sports experts for applications that provide protection against extended exposure to extreme rain conditions or against extended immersion in water or wet conditions, e.g., offshore fishing, offshore sailing, whitewater kayaking, mountaineering, etc.
Exemptions
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Clothing exclusively used by the United State military;
  • Carpet and rugs;
  • Treatments containing PFAS for use on converted textiles or leathers;
  • Vehicles;
  • Vessels or their components such as boat covers;
  • Filtration media and filter products in industrial applications;
  • Textile articles used in or for laboratory analysis and testing;
  • Aircrafts;
  • Stadium shades or other architectural fabric structures;
  • Single-use paper hygiene products.


[1]  AB 1817 

[2]  AB 1200

[3]  AB 652 

[4]  SB 1044

[5]  AB 1201

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