Chemical Regulations for Vermont Manufacturers and Distributors

Several chemical issues will continue to face Vermont manufacturers and distributors as we enter the new year and legislative session.  Vermont regulations and new legislation are currently being implemented and debated, and new proposals are looming in the near future.  The following is a brief overview of key issues and developments – we strongly encourage all manufacturers to reach us at info@aivt.org with areas of interest and key contacts so that we can direct important information and updates to you as warranted.

Chemicals in Food Packaging, Cosmetics, Textiles, and Other Product Categories

Recently passed legislation banning PFAS, phthalates, and potentially bisphenols in food packaging, as well as PFAS in firefighting foam, carpets and rugs, and ski wax, went into effect this past July.

The most significant problem with the law has been the food packaging supply chain.  Although PFAS has largely been eliminated from new covered food packaging, some materials and packaging types have longer supply tails, risking potential interruptions in inventories while existing non-compliant packaging passes through.

AIV, together with the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association, has worked with regulators and the Attorney General’s Office to address compliance and enforcement concerns.  This dialogue has worked well to date, but needs to continue before all issues are resolved.  If you are a manufacturer or distributor of food products, please contact us at info@aivt.org to ensure that you have all the information you need about this law and can receive updates.  You can also contact us about the other product categories listed above.

On the new legislation front, S.25, which would ban a number of chemicals in cosmetics and feminine hygiene products, as well as PFAS in clothing and other textiles and in artificial turf and other surfacing, passed the Senate last session and will be taken up in the House Human Services Committee in the new year.

AIV worked with state and national stakeholders to engage with the Senate committees to bring the provisions of the bill more into line with similar laws in other states.  While significant progress was made with the textile provisions, work still needs to be done now that the bill is in the House.  There are more significant issues outstanding with the cosmetics/hygiene products and artificial surfacing provisions.  If you are a manufacturer or distributor of any of these products or components, please contact us at info@aivt.org to ensure that you have all the information you need about this proposed legislation and can receive updates.

Finally, there is the possibility that S.25 could be expanded by the addition of provisions from H.152, which would ban PFAS from all consumer products, with an initial prioritization of apparel, cookware, paper products, and pesticides, as well as cosmetics provisions similar to S.25.  As above, if you are a manufacturer or distributor of any of these products or other consumer products or components, please contact us at info@aivt.org to ensure that you have all the information you need about this proposed legislation and can receive updates.

PFAS in Products and Manufacturing Processes, Incidental Contamination

Above and beyond the PFAS related bills discussed above, the Northeast Waste Management Officials Association (NEWMOA) has been developing model legislation that would ban or otherwise regulate PFAS in all products, starting with a short list of consumer products, then consumer products generally, and then non-consumer products. NEWMOA comprises the waste management related state agencies in New England, New York, and New Jersey.

The short list of products initially impacted could include: aqueous film forming foam; apparel and textiles; carpets; cosmetics and feminine hygiene products; cookware; fluorine treated containers; food packaging and containers; furniture; paper and paper products; personal protective equipment; and after market waterproof and stain guard products.

Of particular concern to manufacturers, the proposal would not just cover products to which PFAS has been intentionally added for a known purpose, which has been the standard for current and most proposed PFAS laws.  It would go much further to include products where PFAS is used in the manufacturing process and also if it is present for any reason above a certain level.  This could vastly expand the scope of products, components, and manufacturers covered by the proposal.

AIV has worked with state and national stakeholders to engage with NEWMOA and Vermont’s representatives in the group on this proposed model bill, including providing comments on the initial draft and follow up discussions.  Currently NEWMOA is expected to formally approve or reject the draft model legislation (or solicit further public comment) this coming spring.  However, it is possible that legislation based on current or past drafts of the proposed model could be independently introduced in the Vermont legislature and taken up separately or as part of legislation like S.25 or H.152 discussed above. AIV will therefore remain vigilant for that possibility, and as above we would once again strongly encourage all manufacturers to reach us at info@aivt.org so that we can direct important information and updates to you as warranted, especially given the broad reach of the proposal into the manufacturing process and even incidental contamination.

If you have any questions about any of the topics above, please feel free to contact us and watch for more information in future posts.