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New Washington State Law on PFAS in Firefighting Foam and Protective Equipment

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On Tuesday, March 27, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State signed into law the “Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6413 that bans and penalizes per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Class B firefighting foam designed for flammable liquid fires and firefighting personal protective equipment to be worn by firefighting personnel intended for use in fire and rescue activities.

The ban on the use firefighting foam that contains PFAS goes into effect on July 1, 2018, and the ban on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of firefighting foam “to which PFAS chemicals have been intentionally added” goes into effect on July 1, 2020, unless required by federal law 14 22 C.F.R. 139.317, but subject to change in the event that the applicable federal regulations change after January 1, 2018 – to allow the use of alternative firefighting agents that do not contain PFAS chemicals.

The notification requirements on the manufacture and sale of firefighting personal protective equipment and firefighting foam goes into effect on July 1, 2018.  This includes a provision to recall firefighting foam products and reimburse retailers or purchasers for the product.

Beginning in July 1, 2018, the state Department of Ecology will assist the other state agencies, fire protection districts, and local governments with compliance for this new law, and will assess violations to manufacturers of class B firefighting foam with civil penalties up to five thousand dollars for each violation, and up to ten thousand dollars for each repeat offense. Penalties collected under the section will be deposited in the state toxics control account.

To view the bill, go to the Washington Legislature website. To view an article about the new law, visit the Spokesman-Review News website.