HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
Washington State Drafts Determinations on PFAS-Containing Products
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Continuing Washington State’s push towards implementing one of the nation’s strictest chemicals laws, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) recently published its Draft Regulatory Determinations Report on certain products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These regulatory determinations, set to be finalized in June 2024, would guide Ecology’s future rulemaking on placing restrictions or reporting requirements on certain PFAS-containing products. These products include apparel and gear, firefighting PPE, cleaning products, automotive washes, waxes (for automobiles, floors, and skis), hard surface sealants, and cookware and kitchen supplies. Stakeholders should note which products might have reporting requirements or restrictions and provide comments to Ecology during the comment period, which expires on January 12, 2024.


The Safer Products for Washington program is a four-phase cycle that repeats every five years. During the first phase, Ecology identifies priority chemicals and classes it will focus on. During the second phase, Ecology identifies priority consumer products that contain the identified priority chemicals or classes. During the third phase, Ecology determines whether it will take regulatory action by requiring reporting or imposing chemical restrictions. Finally, during the fourth phase, Ecology adopts rules to implement the regulatory actions it identified in the previous phase. Each phase offers opportunities for public comment to Ecology.

This regulatory determination is part of “phase three” of Ecology’s “Cycle 1.5” of implementing the Safer Products for Washington program. The governing statute was amended to instruct Ecology to proceed directly to phases three and four for certain priority products containing PFAS.

Ecology’s Draft Regulatory Determinations

Ecology’s Draft Regulatory Determinations Report sets the framework for how Washington is likely to regulate these PFAS-containing products in future rulemakings. In these draft regulatory determinations, Ecology makes one of three regulatory determinations for a given PFAS-containing product based on whether the product has safer, feasible, and available alternatives:

  • Determine that no further regulatory action is required;
  • Require the manufacturer to provide notice to Ecology that the product contains PFAS chemicals; or
  • Restrict or prohibit the manufacture, wholesale, distribution, sale, retail sale, use, or any combination thereof, of PFAS in the product.

Ecology will likely propose a restriction if a product has safer, feasible, and available alternatives. If the product has no such alternatives, but a restriction would reduce a significant source of PFAS, Ecology will propose a reporting requirement instead. Both restrictions and reporting requirements will be implemented under “phase four” of this cycle. When determining whether there is an alternative to a product that is safer, feasible, and available, Ecology evaluates:

  • Whether the PFAS is functionally necessary;
  • The hazards of the priority chemical class;
  • The hazards of the alternative; and
  • Whether manufacturers use the alternative for the relevant application.

In addition to whether there are safer, feasible alternatives, Ecology may also consider the hazards of the priority chemical class, the criteria to be listed as a priority product, existing regulations from other states and nations, and any other relevant information.

The table below summarizes Ecology’s draft determinations concerning this cycle’s PFAS-containing products:

Priority Product Draft Regulatory Determination
Apparel and gear
  • Reporting requirement for apparel intended for extended use by experts or professionals and not marketed to the general public
  • Reporting requirement for shoes
  • Reporting requirement for gear
  • Restrictions for all other types of apparel
Firefighting PPE Reporting requirement
Cleaning products Restriction
Automotive washes Restriction
Automotive waxes Reporting requirement
Floor waxes Reporting requirement
Ski waxes Reporting requirement
Hard surface sealants* Reporting requirement
Cookware and kitchen supplies* Reporting requirement

*Ecology did not determine if there were any safer, feasible, and available alternatives for hard surface sealants or cookware and kitchen supplies. Ecology intends to examine alternatives for these products in a later cycle.

Next Steps

Ecology is accepting comments on these draft determinations until January 12, 2024. Ecology has until June 2024 to consider comments and finalize its regulatory determinations.

Once the regulatory determinations are finalized, Ecology has until December 2025 to finalize rules under “phase four” to implement its regulatory determinations and place reporting requirements or restrictions on these priority products. This will include an intermediate step where Ecology proposes rules for public comment.

HB Ad Slot
HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot
HB Ad Slot
HB Mobile Ad Slot

NLR Logo

We collaborate with the world's leading lawyers to deliver news tailored for you. Sign Up to receive our free e-Newsbulletins


Sign Up for e-NewsBulletins