House Passes Slimmed-Down PFAS Ban


PROVIDENCE — What does nonstick cookware, artificial turf, couch upholstery, burger wrappers, and ski wax all have in common?

They are all products sold in Rhode Island that are known to contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a growing category of toxic chemicals added to household goods to endow them with water-, stain- or grease-resistant properties. They’re also referred to as “forever chemicals,” referencing their ability to resist breaking down in the environment.

It’s this property that makes them dangerous; in recent years PFAS have been detected in human blood and growing number of drinking water sources, including in Rhode Island. PFAS have been linked to several cancers, fertility issues, and developmental delays in children.

Lawmakers are taking another swing at regulating the chemicals this year. On May 5, the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted to move a new PFAS ban onto the House floor. The ban, sponsored by Rep. Terri Cortvriend, D-Portsmouth, is a tad slimmer than the bill originally introduced earlier in the session.

It’s now called the Consumer PFAS Ban Act of 2024 (H7356A), and the regulation would only apply to products specifically listed in the act. Not included in the approved legislation is a suite of products, including film and digital camera equipment and children’s electronics, that may include integrated circuits or semiconductor chips. The final version also eliminated a disclosure requirement on the part of manufacturers that would have required them to label products that intentionally had PFAS introduced into them.

Cortvriend, in a phone call with ecoRI News on May 6, said the resulting legislative compromise was key to getting the measure out of committee, and she was “thrilled” to see it go to the House floor.

“I’m happy we kept the definition of PFAS and we are using the same definition that 22 other states have used,” Cortvriend said.

If passed into law, the PFAS ban would go into effect in 2027, applying only to the listed products in the legislation that intentionally add PFAS as part of the manufacturing process. The list includes carpets, cosmetics, cookware, menstrual products, textiles, fabric treatments, and ski wax. Starting in 2029, the ban would expand to include artificial turf and outdoor apparel. The legislation also adds additional restrictions onto firefighting foam, starting as soon as next year.

Violations of the PFAS ban would incur a fine of up to $1,000 for the first violation, and a fine of up to $5,000 for successive violations.

Cortvriend said she remained “hopeful” the bill would pass before the end of the session, which is expected to be sometime in mid-June. She also pledged to introduce a new bill next session on the disclosure requirements.

“I’ll just keep working on that,” she said.

A Senate version of the bill, introduced by Sen. Meghan Kallman, D-Pawtucket, has not been updated to reflect the House version as of this writing. Cortvriend’s bill is scheduled for a full vote of the House on Tuesday.


Join the Discussion

View Comments

Recent Comments

  1. I recently had my blood tested for Pfas poisoning. The results were high. I had cancer in 1995 and again 2022. I’m still fighting. I regularly drank water in Pawtucket from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s. I believe this caused my cancers. The Pfas in water was measured by an independent company and Pawtucket water supply failed.
    I was hoping RI legislature would have the courage to make Rhode Island water the best in the country. Instead it’s a negotiated watered down bill that does not fully protect the citizens. Use your vote people for representatives that give a dam. Right now they do not. Stay safe and eat and drink healthy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your support keeps our reporters on the environmental beat.

Reader support is at the core of our nonprofit news model. Together, we can keep the environment in the headlines.


We use cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalized content. View Cookie Settings