The Maryland Department of Environment’s (MDE) PFAS take-back program is at least 18 months from becoming operational.
During this last legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB275, the George “Walter” Taylor Act. This bill effectively bans PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams and various other products. MACo worked with the bill sponsors to establish a $500,000 take-back program whereby the state would take possession of any remaining PFAS foam and dispose of it. The program is funded starting in FY 2024; below is an anticipated timeline for counties outlining critical dates regarding the program and the ban on PFAS foams:
2022 Legislative Session – The General Assembly passed HB 275, creating the PFAS take-back program
July 2023 – The start of FY 2024, $500,000 in funding will be included in MDE’s budget to administer the program
December 2023 – The take-back program should become operational
January 1, 2024 – Firefighting foams that contain PFAS chemicals are banned statewide
What are PFAS Chemicals?
PFAS or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances are artificial chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. (CDC) These chemicals are found in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, cosmetics, firefighting foams, grease-resistant products, water, and oil. Notably, PFAS chemicals do not break down easily and thus remain in the environment for an extended period. They can now be found globally in the blood of humans and animals and in various food products. This exposure can have a variety of adverse environmental and health impacts.