California to Ban PFAS in Menstrual Products

Asian Woman Shopping Sanitary Napkin At The Supermarket

September 15, 2023

California's recently passed ban on PFAS in period products to take effect in 2025

This week California passed a ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in menstrual products.

On Sept. 11, the California Senate voted 71-0 in favor of AB 246, a bill that will prohibit the sale or manufacture of tampons, pads, sponges, menstruation underwear, disks, and menstrual cups that contain intentionally added PFAS, beginning Jan. 1, 2025. A threshold test for the presence of PFAS — defined as 10 parts per million measured in total organic fluorine — will be required starting in 2027, though the text of the bill does not specify an approved testing methodology.

Having passed both chambers of the California legislature, the bill will advance to the governor, who is widely expected to sign the bill into law later this fall.

What this means for makers of menstrual products

For manufacturers of period products and menstruation underwear, the California law has implications across national supply chains due to the size of the state's consumer market.

Once signed into law, the bill will require manufacturers of period products to provide distributors and retailers with electronic certificates stating that their products follow the new provisions and do not "contain any regulated perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS." To comply with this law, manufacturers will be required to use the "least toxic" alternative, including alternative designs, though the bill does not say how "least toxic" is to be measured or defined.

Violations of the law will be punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 for a first violation and not to exceed $10,000 per day for each subsequent violation.

A growing trend toward state regulation of PFAS

Minnesota and New York have also introduced bills to regulate or ban PFAS in menstrual products, while Georgia, Vermont, Nevada, and Massachusetts have introduced bills that would require manufacturers to disclose and label all ingredients used in period products, similar to ingredient disclosure requirements for period products already in place in New York (S2387B) and California (AB 1989).

What Can We Help You Solve?

Exponent closely monitors the continually changing PFAS regulatory landscape to help clients prepare for new PFAS regulations. Our experts have years of experience investigating supply chains for PFAS sources, working with third-party laboratories to test materials and products for specific PFAS and total organic fluorine, and assisting clients in making decisions that suit their product lines and stewardship goals.