Maine (USA): Prohibition of Products Containing Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) Substances, House Paper 1113, Legislative Document 1503 Enacted, 2021

This bill, now signed into law under 38 MRSA §1612, prohibits the sale, offer or distribution for sale of a product containing intentionally added PFAS.

Prohibition Effective January 1, 2023: carpets or rugs, and fabric treatments containing intentionally added PFAS.

Prohibition Effective January 1, 2030: any product containing intentionally added PFAS.

– Products containing PFAS identified by the Department as unavoidable use, and sale of used products, are exempted.

Effective January 1, 2023, a manufacturer of a product for sale in Maine containing intentionally added PFAS must submit a report that includes: brief description of the product; purposed use of PFAS in a product, including components, and other information.

The Department may prohibit the sale of products containing intentionally added PFAS as identified by category or use, prioritizing the most likely to cause contamination of the State’s land or water resources. The Department may waive all or part of the notification requirement under subsection 2 if the department determines that substantially equivalent information is publicly available.

China: Implementation of the “Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants” Prohibiting the Production and Use of Hexabromocyclododecane, Notice No. 237, 2021

On 4 June 2021, the China Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development jointly published a notice about the relevant management action on implementation of the “Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants” prohibiting the production and use of hexabromocyclododecane.

In accordance with this Notice, and with Announcement No. 84 of 2016, the production, use, import, and export of hexabromocyclododecane should be banned from 26 December 2021.

This Notice describes measures put in place to ensure that compliance goals are achieved as scheduled. These include:

  • Further investigation on companies producing or using hexabromocyclododecane: the production and use of hexabromocyclododecane in each region will be investigated and tracked in a register, to be dynamically and rigorously managed;
  • Relevant departments should clarify the responsibility of the enterprises, and ensure the production and use of hexabromocyclododecane will be completely stopped from 26 December 2021;
  • Strengthen the supervision and management of illegal production and sale of HBCD and products containing HBCD;
  • Strengthen the environmental supervision and management of the disposal of waste stocks of hexabromocyclododecane: the remaining hexabromocyclododecane stocks on 26 December 2021, must be disposed of as hazardous wastes in accordance with the “National Catalogue of Hazardous Waste (2021 Version)”.

The relevant actions taken by local authorities need to be reported to the China Ministry of Ecology and Environment before 31 March 2022, and a copy shall be submitted to the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

EU Environmental Policy to 2030: A Systemic Change

What are the goals of the new EU Environment Action Plan to 2030 and what has to be done to achieve them?

As Europe, along with the rest of the world, faces the economic and societal impact of climate change, ecosystem degradation and overconsumption of natural resources, MEPs will vote on the EU’s Environment Action Programme 2030, which aims to tackle some of the issues.

Find out about EU responses to climate change

Towards a climate-neutral EU

In November 2019, Parliament adopted a resolution declaring a climate emergency and urged the European Commission to ensure that future legislative and budgetary proposals are aligned with the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The first EU Environment Action Programme in 1973 aimed to reduce pollution, improve natural and urban environments and promote awareness of ecological problems. The 8th environmental action programme, which will be discussed by MEPs during July’s plenary session, will focus on accelerating the transition to climate neutrality, to clean and efficient energies and to a circular economy.

A sustainable economy is key

In its State of the Environment report, the European Environment Agency said that economic activities and lifestyle are Europe’s most important environmental challenges.

According to Parliament’s environment committee, the EU should shift towards a sustainable well-being economy with the Sustainable Development Goals as the foundation. A wellbeing economy is one where public interest determines economics and not the other way around.

The priorities in the action plan proposal include:

  • Environmental damage should be seen as a priority, rectified at source and damage paid for by the polluter
  • Mid-term evaluation by the Commission in March 2024
  • Data technologies should be used to support environment policy, ensuring transparency and public accessibility of the data
  • The phase out of all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and subsidies which fund environmentally harmful activities to be phased out by 2027.

Transparency and monitoring 

The new Environment Action Programme, which will support the European Green Deal, will include a new monitoring mechanism. The Commission is expected to come up with indicators to monitor and track progress by 31 December 2021.