(CBS4) – It’s rare to see Republicans and Democrats joining forces these days, but a new bill to ban dangerous “chemicals forever” in products sold in Colorado brings both sides of the aisle closer together . Because “forever chemicals” can be found in all sorts of household products, like nonstick cookware and even cosmetics, keeping those toxins out seems like something a lot of people can get.
“If you take a look around your home: the carpeting, the fabric that’s on your furniture, the curtains, the blinds are all products that typically contain PFAS,” says Rep. Mary Bradfield (R-Fountain ), one of the bill’s sponsors.
Bradfield says HB22-1345 would ban PFAS — or perfluoroalkyl substances — from products sold in Colorado, saying there are safer alternatives for companies to use.
PFAS are called “eternal chemicals” because they can build up in the body over time. According to the EPA, they can cause a number of health problems, including cancer, reproductive effects, and developmental problems in children.
For Bradfield, the problem is personal. The water supply in his community just south of Colorado Springs was poisoned by PFAS a few years ago due to nearby military activity.
As CBS4 Investigates reported last year, the contamination may have made some people sick.
“I felt betrayed, I felt frustration, annoyance,” said Chris Graham, one of the locals who was reportedly affected.
Bradfield says that even though the water is clean now, she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else in the Centennial State.
“Really, the purpose of the bill is to eliminate the predominance of PFAS from our products that we bring home that end up in wastewater, and to make Colorado a safer place for all of us,” Bradfield said. .
PFAS can enter the body in a variety of ways – not just from contaminated water – through exposure to everyday products.
Danny Katz of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group says that’s why the bill will also create a public database for consumers to verify product safety.
“We already know there are viable alternatives for these products,” Katz said. “So let’s get rid of them as quickly as possible, and then create a system for our state to continuously monitor, identify and then dispose of any other forever chemical-laden products.”
But some opponents of the bill say it could jeopardize the products people rely on every day.
“PFAS chemicals are essential for many applications, such as solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, life-saving medical devices and semiconductors,” the American Chemistry Council wrote in a statement to CBS4. “Their use supports Colorado’s sustainability and supply chain priorities, and alternatives to these chemicals are not always available.”
But Bradfield says the changes won’t happen overnight, giving companies time to regroup.
‘There will be a period of time where there will be an option to sell and then you will restock, with the sales, for alternatives, and it will be many years before someone walks into your establishment and asks,’ Do you sell all PFAS products,” Bradfield explained. “We’re not asking people to clear their shelves, or anything, this week, this month, this year, even next year. a lot of time for any company to do their due diligence, research and know that there are better products out there.