LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Legislation introduced Tuesday in the Nevada Senate takes up a complex environmental problem involving “forever chemicals,” which last thousands of years and could have adverse health effects.
Democratic Senator Dina Neal, who represents Senate District 4 covering parts of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, had a personal reason for sponsoring the Senate Bill 76 (SB76).
“I really brought this issue forward because I learned that when I was buying cookware, I was buying cookware that could potentially poison me and my kids,” Democratic Senator Dina Neal told a Senate committee on Tuesday.
SB76 looks to build on restrictions for use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl — known commonly as PFAs. The chemicals are commonly found in many products that you may already have at home and use every day. Now, investigations are under way into the implications for human health, as well as animals and the environment overall.
The first PFA was created in 1946 — Teflon, which is used in nonstick cookware. PFAs have expanded into thousands of nonstick, stain-repellent and waterproof substances.
8 News Now reported on PFAs in January in a report about PFAs found in firefighters’ protective gear.
SB76 modifies a 2021 law that targeted PFAs in firefighting foam. Revisions in SB76 would ban the sale or distribution of “any carpet or rug, fabric treatment, food packaging or children’s product that contains intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.” The ban would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
And as Nevada steps into passing laws regulating PFAs, senators on the Natural Resources Committee had questions about what a Nevada law would mean in the context of a widespread investigation into how the chemicals affect health. Some PFAs are considered possible carcinogens, and the science is growing.
Environmental activists spoke in favor of the legislation.
Bryan Wachter of the Retail Association of Nevada cautioned that Nevada should be careful as it considers regulating chemicals that are already a part of the global supply chain. Lawmakers asked if it would open the state to litigation.
Neal’s response: “Probably.”
Neal acknowledged that legislation on PFAs is still fairly new in the U.S., with Maine passing the most sweeping law. The Maine law goes into full effect in 2030.
Neal said she looked at legislation across the country and modeled her bill after one in Colorado, which took a limited approach.
Amendments are already in the works.