Appropriations legislation being considered by both the Minnesota House and Senate threatens to ban products that families and businesses across the state use every day.
Included in SF 2438 and HF 2310 are multiple provisions aimed at limiting the availability of PFAS and fluorinated chemistries. PFAS are a diverse universe of chemistries with different physical, chemical, and toxicological properties that can come in solid, liquid, or gaseous forms. With these vastly different physical properties, it should be easy to see why there is a scientific consensus emerging that it’s inaccurate, or even impossible, to group all PFAS and fluorinated chemistries together the way this legislation aims to do so.
If enacted, these appropriations measures could cost Minnesota countless jobs, harm economic growth in the state, and hamper the ability of businesses and consumers to access products like life-saving medications, rechargeable batteries, catheters and pacemakers, cell phones, automobiles, and many more. It would also contribute to a scenario where U.S. manufacturers face varying restrictions and rules from state to state that could overlap, conflict with each other, or run afoul of federal efforts on PFAS.
Indeed, a similar unscientific, broad restriction on these chemistries has been attempted in Maine. The implementation has run into significant problems for the state and businesses that operate there, resulting in numerous extensions. In fact, the Chair of the Maine Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee is on record saying, “We don’t always get it right the first time which is why we have the word amendment.”
The fact is that PFAS and fluorochemistries are vital to enabling our lives in the 21st century and are absolutely critical to our nation’s economy and supply chain resiliency. Essential U.S. industries such as transportation, healthcare technology, telecommunications, semiconductors, aerospace, construction, renewable energy, and many more rely on PFAS to create, innovate, and lead globally in their respective fields.
Overly broad definitions and regulatory approaches like the one included in SF 2438 and HF 2310 have the potential to pull in thousands of products and would include many substances with a history of safe use. For example, because fluoropolymers (which are a family of plastic resins) are based on a carbon/fluorine bond, these substances meet the legislation’s broad definition of PFAS even though they meet key internationally recognized safety criteria for being of “low concern.”
Our member companies support smart, science-based regulation of PFAS and fluorochemistries and have worked extensively with regulators to address concerns. For example, under the U.S. EPA’s Stewardship Program, several major manufacturers voluntarily committed to cease the manufacture and use of PFOA and related long-chain chemicals. They also agreed that new PFAS chemistries would undergo enhanced regulatory review before being permitted on the market.
We urge Minnesota lawmakers to take a common sense approach to the regulation of these important chemistries and come to the table to work on constructive solutions that are protective of public health and the environment, while still allowing Minnesota families and businesses to access the many products they enable.