New laws will govern chemicals in 2023

Dec. 30—Several new laws will take effect in the new year to help protect public health and the environment by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in everyday items, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a Friday media release.

At the start of 2023, laws will be implemented that will cover chemicals known as PFAS, and other chemicals used in household cleaning, personal care, cosmetics, food packaging and children's products.

"DEC prioritizes the health and well-being of New Yorkers and our environment, and the implementation of new laws for chemicals in everyday household products is part of our state's ongoing commitment to protect communities," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "With the start of the new year, these stringent requirements will build upon our nation-leading efforts to prevent exposure to emerging contaminants."

PFAS are manmade chemicals that have been widely used in various consumer, commercial, and industrial products since the 1940s, the release said. The chemicals' unique properties make them resistant to heat, oil, stains, grease and water, and useful in a wide variety of everyday products. One of the PFAS' was widely used in fire-fighting foam. The same properties "also make PFAS challenging when found in our environment," the release said. PFAS do not break down easily and persist in the environment, especially in water. Because of widespread use, PFAS releases into the environment have been detected in surface water, groundwater, animals and humans worldwide.

1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical commonly associated with chlorinated solvents and was widely used as a chemical stabilizer in other formulations. It is also a byproduct or contaminant in consumer products such as laundry detergent. 1,4-Dioxane has been found in groundwater at sites throughout the United States, particularly in the sole source aquifer of Long Island and in association with legacy industrial and hazardous waste sites, the release said. "This emerging contaminant is extremely costly to clean up from the environment, treatment technologies to remove 1,4-dioxane from drinking water supplies are complex and costly," according to the release.

Effective Dec. 31, the state will require a maximum allowable concentration of two parts per million of 1,4-dioxane in household cleaning and personal care products and a 10 ppm limit is established for cosmetics. A limit of 1 ppm for 1,4-dioxane in household cleaning and personal care products will be effective Dec. 31, 2023.

DEC is implementing a prohibition on intentionally-added PFAS in food packaging. The law applies to paper-based food packaging (made from paper, paperboard or other plant-derived materials) intended for direct food contact. Products of this type containing intentionally added PFAS cannot be sold in New York after Dec. 31, 2022. The restriction of PFAS in food packaging was enacted under the Hazardous Packaging Act. Additional information on the prohibition of PFAS in food packaging is available on the DEC website.

Beginning Jan. 1, DEC will implement restrictions on the sale of children's products containing intentionally-added benzene, asbestos, or tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate in the state. Also of note, the TCCP law will require the disclosure of certain chemicals of concern and high-priority chemicals if present in children's products. DEC is currently working to develop lists of these chemicals, the release said.

For more information, go to the DEC website at