Maine Dramatically Revamps and Delays PFAS Reporting Rules and Consumer Product Bans

After years of tumultuous and unpredictable regulatory uncertainty, the Maine Legislature has again decided to overhaul the state’s PFAS in Products program, dramatically shrinking the scope of the reporting requirements and creating a staggered phase-out for numerous consumer products containing intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”). Specifically, the recently signed bill does away with the requirement compelling all manufacturers of products with intentionally added PFAS to report certain information to the Maine Department of the Environment (“MDEP” or the Department”), and instead only requires manufacturers of such products to report if MDEP has determined that the product is a currently unavoidable use” (“CUU”).

Under the previous regime with which many companies have been scrambling to comply, all manufacturers of products for sale in Maine, including online sales, that contain PFAS were required to submit to MDEP by January 1, 2025, a one-time written notification that includes a brief description of the product, the purpose for which PFAS are used in the product, and the amount of PFAS in the product, among other things, subject to limited exceptions. Now, only manufacturers whose products contain intentionally added PFAS and for which MDEP has determined that the use of PFAS in the product is a CUU must report. The amendment leaves to the Department to by rule identify specific products or product categories” containing intentionally added PFAS for which it has determined that use of PFAS in the product is a CUU. The Department has already begun a rulemaking initiative on this matter.

Note that there are two manufacturer exemptions to this reporting rule: (1) manufacturers that employ 100 or fewer people; and (2) when MDEP has granted a waiver because the Department has already determined that substantially equivalent information” is already publicly available. There are also multiple products that are exempt from this reporting rule, including firefighting/fire suppressing foam, medical devices and drugs regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, and semiconductors, among numerous other products.

Beyond this surprising constriction of the reporting requirement, the bill will also phase out certain products containing intentionally added PFAS, prohibiting the sale, offering for sale, or distribution for sale of the following products that contain intentionally added PFAS, unless they have been granted a CUU:

January 1, 2026 – Cleaning products, cookware, cosmetics, dental floss, juvenile products, menstruation products, textile articles (excluding outdoor apparel for severe wet conditions or that is included in or a component of a watercraft, aircraft or motor vehicle), ski wax, or upholstered furniture.

January 1, 2029 - Artificial turf and outdoor apparel for wet weather (unless the apparel includes a disclosure that includes Made with PFAS chemicals.”).

January 1, 2032 – All other products, excluding refrigeration, cooling and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment.

January 1, 20240 - Refrigeration, cooling, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment.

Note that these prohibitions also apply to products that do not contain PFAS but are sold in a fluorinated container.”

While first-movers in their field often recalibrate their approach, this bill constitutes the third time the Maine legislature has decided to amend the Pine Tree State’s PFAS in products laws. Granted, Maine is not alone in their struggle to craft cognizable rules and standards: Minnesota now stands as the state with the most aggressive PFAS reporting law, with reports due by January 2026 covering almost all PFAS-containing products sold in the state. In contrast, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation that would have required consumer product manufacturers to submit annual reports on intentionally added PFAS in all products and product components beginning in 2026, expressing concerns about the cost and complexity of such a program. As the United States Congress considers similar legislation, it will be interesting to see how the difficulties states are experiencing in creating and implementing PFAS laws translate to the National level.