Recent legislation signed into law in New York and California could have an impact on some promotional product suppliers. Both states have passed legislation banning the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in apparel.


PFAS, sometimes referred to as “Forever Chemicals,” have become commonplace in many household items, apparel and other goods due to the stain resistance and waterproofing properties they impart. They have come under scrutiny for their tendency to remain in the environment and human body for extended periods of time. Research has also linked the to various types of cancer and other illnesses.

New York’s recent legislation prohibiting PFAS in apparel notes “mounting research has linked well-known PFAS compounds such as PFOA and PFOS to kidney and testicular cancer and communities with PFAS contaminated water have been shown to suffer serious medical effects.”

The same bill cites research from the John Wood Group, an engineering and consulting firm, that says “PFASs are very persistent in the environment, and some are highly soluble and mobile. Documented evidence has shown that PFASs emitted to soil can readily move into groundwater and be transported well beyond the original contamination source.”

New York’s Law

At the end of 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law that updates the state’s environmental conservation laws to prohibit the use of PFAS in apparel. It goes into effect on December 31, 2023.

  • This isn’t New York’s first piece of legislation controlling PFAS use. It has banned their incineration and at the end of 2022, a law went into effect that banned the use of PFAS in food packaging.

California’s Law

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law in September that regulated PFAS use in the state. Both go into effect on January 1, 2025.

  • AB 2771 prohibits the sale, delivery or manufacturing of cosmetics containing PFAS.
  • AB 1817 prohibits the sale, distributor and manufacturing of apparel containing PFAS.

Earlier, the state passed laws that prohibited the sale and distribution of food packaging and children’s products that contain PFAS.

The Promo Impact

PFAS has been under scrutiny by PPAI and the promotional products industry for some time. Forever Chemicals were a frequent topic of discussion at last year’s Product Responsibility Summit and may be addressed again at this year’s conference.

Look for the April issue of PPAI Magazine for more on promo’s response to PFAS prohibitions.