Colorado Expands PFAS Labeling and Phase-Out Rules
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Colorado Expands PFAS Labeling and Phase-Out Rules

Brownstein Client Alert, May 3, 2024

With Gov. Jared Polis’ signature on SB 81, Colorado has broadened its restrictions on products containing intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) to include a wide range of consumer products. Colorado has elected to address PFAS in part by regulating its inclusion in consumer products. With SB 81, Colorado expands the labeling and phase-out requirements for consumer products with intentionally added PFAS. The law defines intentionally added PFAS to mean that a manufacturer has intentionally added PFAS chemicals to a product and those chemicals have a function or technical effect on the product. C.R.S. Section 25-15-603(12).

Colorado’s initial law on PFAS in consumer products, passed in 2022, set a phase-out schedule for certain consumer products containing intentionally added PFAS. As of Jan. 1, 2024, no one in Colorado may sell or distribute carpets and rugs, fabric treatments, food packaging, juvenile products or oil and gas products with intentionally added PFAS. Cosmetic products, indoor textiles and upholstery containing intentionally added PFAS are prohibited after Jan. 1, 2025, and outdoor textiles and upholstery containing intentionally added PFAS are banned after Jan. 1, 2027.

SB 81 expands upon these existing restrictions by:

  • Banning cookware (but not primarily commercial cookware), most cleaning products (including automotive cleaning products), dental floss, menstrual products and ski wax containing intentionally added PFAS, effective Jan. 1, 2026.
  • Banning all cleaning products, textiles, food equipment that directly contacts food in commercial settings and outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions containing intentionally added PFAS, effective Jan  1, 2028.
  • Prohibiting installation of artificial turf that contains intentionally added PFAS on any portion of a property, effective Jan. 1, 2026.
  • Requiring outdoor apparel designed for “severe wet conditions” that contains intentionally added PFAS bear a clear disclosure label from Jan. 1, 2025 until the ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2028.

SB 81’s passage closely follows Maine’s recent acceleration of its ban on intentionally added PFAS in certain consumer products. And it is consistent with a 2023 Minnesota law that begins phasing out intentionally added PFAS in consumer products in 2025. However, unlike the Maine and Minnesota laws, the Colorado law does not phase out PFAS entirely, nor does it contain a currently unavoidable-use provision.

Before settling on the final text of SB 81, lawmakers volleyed amendments to balance competing interests. Originally, SB 81 proposed a sweeping ban on all products containing intentionally added PFAS by Jan. 1, 2032, similar to the restrictions of the Maine and Minnesota laws. The state Senate committee opted for a more targeted approach, adding specific product categories to the existing ban, modifying phase-out deadlines and eliminating a general ban in response to industry stakeholders’ concerns. A state House committee added amendments restoring certain cleaning products to the 2026 and 2028 phase-out lists in response to concerns from wastewater utilities that cleaning products represent a notable source of PFAS.

Following the bill’s enactment, manufacturers, distributors and retailers—particularly those in Colorado’s outdoor recreation and food and beverage industries—may encounter significant difficulties with product development, sourcing, manufacturing, supply and distribution as they attempt to comply with the strict phase-out deadlines. Reduced PFAS in consumer product may reduce PFAS loading for wastewater facilities, complementing more targeted source investigation and source control efforts.

More broadly, as we’ve previously written, the uptick in PFAS bans in both state legislatures and at the federal level could result in overlapping or contradictory regulatory frameworks. Consumer product companies should once again review their manufacturing and distribution contracts and take affirmative action to understand the use of PFAS in their products and work with counsel to mitigate risk through testing and manufacturing assessments.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding SB 81 in Colorado. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions. The information in this article is accurate as of the publication date. Because the law in this area is changing rapidly, and insights are not automatically updated, continued accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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