Does your Illinois business have or use PFAS in its products or operations? If yes, then you may need to pay close attention to a recent law that bans disposing of PFAS by incineration.
PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in various industrial and household products for decades. PFAS have often been referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their long-enduring composition. Although knowledge about the possible adverse health effects of PFAS is relatively limited, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences notes there are studies that link PFAS to potential health risks, including certain cancers.
HB 4818, which Governor Pritzker signed into law on June 8, 2022, adds a new section (415 ILCS 5/22.62) to the Illinois Environmental Protection Act that prohibits the incineration of PFAS. This includes aqueous film-forming foam, a fire suppressant used to fight flammable liquid fires.
According to Section 22.62, PFAS include chemicals the U.S. EPA lists as PFAS on its Toxic Release Inventory rules. The Section also defines what is and is not considered “incineration.” Methods such as burning, combustion, pyrolysis, gasification, and destruction in various kilns, furnaces, and boilers are considered incineration. On the other hand, thermal oxidizers used in pollution control or resource recovery devices are not considered incineration. In addition, Section 22.62 states it does not apply to incineration of various landfill gasses; certain hospital, medical, and infectious waste; and particular by-products generated by municipal wastewater treatment facilities. (For specific information on the definitions and processes summarized above, please refer to the language used in Section 22.62, which can be read here.)
In recent years, legislators at both the state and federal levels are paying closer attention to limiting public exposures to PFAS. As more information becomes available about possible health risks associated with PFAS, regulation of PFAS will continue to grow. It’s important that businesses evaluate their PFAS risks and pay close attention to Section 22.62 and other PFAS-related regulations.