The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has expressed reservations about the proposed per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) legislation in Washington State, deeming it unnecessary. While acknowledging the importance of environmental regulations, AAFA urges the state to align with existing national definitions and exemptions. AAFA's president and CEO, Steve Lamar, conveyed these sentiments to the Department of Ecology, emphasizing the industry's proactive measures to phase out PFAS use.
Lamar highlighted the industry's commitment to complying with PFAS restrictions, citing the inclusion of the entire PFAS chemical class in AAFA's Restricted Substances List. The association actively supports its members in transitioning to safer alternatives, emphasizing education and collaboration throughout the supply chain. Lamar expressed concerns about the potential complications arising from a patchwork of state-based regulations and their impact on industry sustainability and circularity initiatives.
AAFA proposes a sell-through provision to address concerns about the unsold inventory resulting from strict sales prohibitions. Recognizing the challenges posed by the pandemic's impact on consumer demand, AAFA recommends allowing the sale of products manufactured before January 1, 2025.
AAFA calls for clearly aligning definitions and exemptions with those established in California and New York. Lamar emphasizes the need for consistent coverage or exemption of products, citing potential conflicts with federal requirements for items such as personal protective equipment and those used by the US Defense Department.
AAFA underscores the importance of science-based testing thresholds to distinguish between intentional addition and unintentional contamination. Lamar suggests adopting a Total Organic Fluorine (TOF) testing threshold, similar to California's, while acknowledging the complexities associated with recycled materials.
PFAS Reporting Requirement
Lamar questions the utility of a PFAS reporting requirement, considering the industry's commitment to phasing out PFAS use. He emphasizes the complexity of PFAS testing in consumer products and advocates for exemptions to support circularity initiatives. Lamar encourages Washington State to consider the limitations of testing and the diminishing quantities of legacy inventory when evaluating the potential benefits of a reporting requirement.
As Washington State considers PFAS legislation, the AAFA seeks a balanced approach that aligns with national standards, addresses industry concerns, and supports the ongoing commitment to sustainability and circularity. Lamar's recommendations underscore the need for collaboration between regulators and industry stakeholders to achieve effective environmental outcomes without hindering innovation and progress in the apparel sector.