Montpelier, VT — Today, the Vermont House Committee on Human Services unanimously passed legislation (S.25) to ban per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) and other toxic chemicals from personal care products and menstrual products, and to ban PFAS from apparel, cookware, artificial turf, and children’s products. An earlier version of the bill passed the Vermont Senate unanimously in 2023, and the bill is supported by Vermont small businesses, public health and children’s advocates, and environmental groups. It now heads to the full House for consideration.

Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters, noted: “The House Committee on Human Services stood up for Vermonters’ health by advancing a bill to restrict the use of toxic chemicals like PFAS in a range of products we use everyday, including cosmetics, cookware, clothing, and children’s products. Chemicals like PFAS are linked to cancer and other harms to human health, and this bill continues Vermont’s leadership role in acting to reduce Vermonters’ unnecessary exposure to dangerous chemicals”

The chemicals banned by this bill are linked to numerous negative human health impacts. PFAS chemicals are linked to kidney and testicular cancers, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and suppressed immune system function. Phthalates are a class of hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been found to threaten reproductive harm, lower fertility, increase risk of testicular and prostate cancer, and add to “brain drain” symptoms like increased ADHD. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that is widely understood to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes.

Despite the harm they can cause, toxic chemicals continue to be used in a variety of products. From production, to transportation, use, and disposal, toxic chemicals pose threats to communities throughout their lifecycle. And as recently demonstrated by the spill of thousands of gallons of PFAS-laden leachate at Vermont’s landfill, throwing away toxic products can result in downstream contamination issues.

S.25 targets several different areas of consumer products that are major sources of exposure and environmental contamination:

  • Bans a list of chemicals and chemical classes from personal care products and period products

  • Bans PFAS from:

    • all textiles, including apparel

    • artificial turf fields

    • children’s products

    • cookware

“It is Vermont’s responsibility to act swiftly to protect its people from these toxic products – especially when other states have already done so, which is the case for many of the products targeted by this bill,” said Marcie Gallagher, Environmental Advocate at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “When it comes to ‘forever chemicals,’ every exposure pathway matters.”

For each of these product categories, there are safer and cost-comparable alternatives already available. This bill aligns us more closely with states like California, Minnesota, and Washington, who have already taken action to address toxic chemicals in these products. Further, many retailers are already starting to move away from the use of these toxic substances in the products they sell. This bill will protect Vermonters, help spur the market, and support other states in taking action to restrict harmful chemicals in consumer products.

“We’re grateful for the leadership of Rep. Dane Whitman and the full House Human Services Committee, who improved the bill in key ways – including by expanding the PFAS ban to children’s products and cookware. We are eager for this bill to continue moving through the legislative process and to the Governor’s desk for enactment as soon as possible,” added Gallagher.