Vermont Legislature Passes First-in-Nation Restrictions on Toxic PFAS Chemicals

MAY 11, 2021

May 11, 2021 (MONTPELIER, VT) Today, the Vermont Legislature gave final approval to a nation-leading bill that would restrict the sale of consumer products that contain toxic chemicals known as PFAS. The bill now heads to the Governor for his signature. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Vermont Conservation Voters, and Vermont Public Interest Research Group released the following statements in response.

“The legislature has taken a major step forward to protect communities and firefighters from toxic forever chemicals,” said Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “PFAS wreak havoc on our health and they have no place in products we use every day. Vermont has the opportunity to lead the nation in protecting people from PFAS, and Governor Scott must sign this bill into law.”

PFAS chemicals — per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances — are linked to harmful health impacts including high blood pressure, thyroid disease, kidney, and testicular cancers, and suppressed immune system function. To make matters worse, PFAS contamination might worsen the impacts of Covid-19, according to recent scientific studies. Harm to the immune system due to PFAS exposure has broad-ranging effects, from reduced ability to fight off viral infections to reduced responsiveness to vaccines.

“PFAS are particularly dangerous because they bioaccumulate in our bodies, so every exposure pathway matters,” said Marcie Gallagher, Environmental Associate at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “The only way to protect public health from these ‘forever chemicals’ is to stop using them whenever possible.”