Illinois Ban On PFAS AFFF – Joins 11 Other States
On August 6, 2021, Illinois became the twelfth state in the United States to ban PFAS-containing class B firefighting foam (also referred to as aqueous film forming foam, or AFFF). The PFAS Reduction Act (SB 561) was passed by unanimous vote of the legislature not only bans the manufacture, sale and distribution of PFAS firefighting foam, but it also establishes fines for violators, creates warning requirements for manufacturers of AFFF, and creates environmental release obligations on parties in the event of an AFFF release into state waterways or onto land. Manufacturers and sellers of PFAS-containing AFFF are facing numerous bans on the product, with state enacting slightly different language and obligations. The Illinois ban on PFAS AFFF is yet another significant step in the country’s regulation of PFAS products that anyone involved in PFAS compliance assessment must pay close attention to.
Illinois Ban On PFAS AFFF – What Is the Scope?
As of January 1, 2025, the manufacture, sale and distribution of PFAS AFFF will be banned in Illinois under the PFAS Reduction Act. The bill also bans PFAS foams from use in training and testing as of January 1, 2022 unless the entity using the product assesses the testing site for control, treatment and disposal options; follows the state’s notification requirements; and trains workers using the PFAS-containing AFFF on the potential hazards of the product and appropriate protective measures to take when using or cleaning up the product.
Beyond the ban Illinois ban on PFAS AFFF, though, the law is notable in that it requires manufacturers of the AFFF to provide warnings to fire department prior to sale of PFAS-containing AFFF that “the product contains PFASs that may be hazardous to health or the environment; the use of the product is regulated and restricted under this act; and other class B firefighting foam options may be available for purchase.” This is a significant obligation on AFFF manufacturers that is unique to Illinois thus far.
Finally, the legislation provides that after January 1, 2022, release of PFAS-containing AFFF must be reported to the state within 48 hours of the release. When reporting to the state, the reporting party must indicate the reason for the release; the time, date, location and the quantity of the release; and proposed containment, treatment and disposal steps needed to minimize contamination. Dumping PFAS AFFF in ditches, sewers, strom drains, or waterways will be strictly prohibited, as well.
The PFAS Reduction Act makes clear that any entity failing to follow any of the above provisions faces fines of up to $5,000 for an initial violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
Other states with PFAS-containing AFFF bans that have passed state legislative steps include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.