President Biden issued Executive Order No. 14057 (the “Executive Order”) on Dec. 8, 2021 that incorporates the Federal Sustainability Plan to leverage the federal government’s procurement powers to prioritize the procurement of products without added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The Executive Order and the Federal Sustainability Plan incorporate a “buy clean” initiative, with the stated goal of protecting the environment, the health of government employees, and the public at large. In addition to promoting environmental stewardship, the Executive Order also seeks to incentivize companies to develop recyclable, bio-based, and alternative options to those products that utilize and contain PFAS. This goal would not only reduce exposure to the environment and consumers, but also to those working in facilities that utilize PFAS in production.
The Executive Order is more evidence of the heightened regulatory and commercial scrutiny on PFAS. It could have a significant impact on producers of textiles, firefighting foams, certain cleaning products, and other manufacturers that utilize PFAS in their production processes. Companies with significant government contracts should be prepared to verify the chemical content of their products to ensure compliance with the new Executive Order.
For more information on the regulation of PFAS, please contact a member of Taft’s Environmental practice group.