What We’re Watching: Senate Bill 81

The 2024 Legislative Session is starting to ramp up, with new bills trickling in each day impacting the business community. The Colorado Chamber’s policy councils and alliances have begun their regular meetings to review legislation and take positions on bills.

This week, the Colorado Chamber is watching SB 81, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Cutter, Rep. Cathy Kipp and Rep. Manny Rutinel. The bill creates more restrictions in state law against the sale and distribution of products containing PFAS chemicals (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl).

These chemicals can be found in firefighting foam, non-stick pans, carpets, food packaging, outdoor and recreation equipment, and many more products. PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily, and they’ve been found to have negative health and environmental impacts – which is why many companies have started phasing PFAS chemicals out of their products and processes.

SB 81 follows a law that passed two years ago, HB 1345, which places limits on the sale of some PFAS products. While the Chamber still opposed the bill in its final form, that legislation saw a number of amendments that allowed for exemptions, reducing its sweeping impact on the broader business community. SB 81 takes this law a step further and essentially repeals all of the exemptions carved out in HB 1345 before it has even been implemented, effectively banning any products that contain any PFAS from being sold in Colorado.

This legislation would have sweeping impacts on the broader business community, from retailers to manufacturers and more. Waterproof materials like GORE-TEX, ski wax and equipment, tents, and hiking boots are only some of the major outdoor products widely used and sold in Colorado containing PFAS. In addition, many manufacturers utilize PFAS compounds in their processes, from the automotive industry to electronics, aerospace and aviation, energy, textiles and more.

The bill is yet another example of state lawmakers further complicating regulations before recent new laws even have the chance to be implemented. The Colorado Chamber took an opposed position on the proposal this week.

SB 81 was assigned to the Senate Business, Labor, & Technology Committee and is not yet scheduled for a hearing.