A variety of powersports products relying on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals are facing new federal and state regulations that could change manufacturing across the industry.
PFAS substances are a class of synthetic chemicals used for decades in a wide range of consumer products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these are “long-lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time” and “are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.”
In powersports, PFAS chemicals can be found in or used to produce products, such as:
- Riding gear with sweat-wicking properties and water resistance
- A wide variety of plastic and rubber parts
- Gaskets and o-rings
- Components resistant to heat, fuel, and chemicals
- Evaporation-resistant hoses and tubing
- Semiconductors and chrome plating.
“Whether you’re an OE, aftermarket or riding gear manufacturer, you need to be aware of these proposals, and you should be searching for ways to replace PFAS in all of the products you sell,” said Scott Schloegel, senior vice president at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) Government Relations Office (GRO).
Both federal and state governments have examined the health impacts of PFAS in recent years, Schloegel said, and many bills have been introduced to ban its use. Some states are also setting up registries to list any vehicles, components, parts and clothing that contain PFAS.
Maine passed a bill last year that requires detailed registration of all products with PFAS sold in the state in 2023. The new law also bans the use of PFAS in any products sold in Maine beginning in 2030. Staff from the MIC GRO will be participating in a briefing on June 30 regarding implementation of the new law.
“Colorado also just signed a bill into law banning PFAS in youth products and other textiles,” Schloegel said. “It appears the Colorado bill does not capture youth off-road products and, fortunately, it specifically exempts ‘an internal component of a juvenile product that would not come into direct contact with a child’s skin or mouth during reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product.’ Member companies should check with their legal counsel to determine how the Maine and Colorado bills may impact their lines of business. Our team at the MIC GRO is tracking and responding to PFAS bills in several other states, including California, Georgia, Massachusetts and North Carolina.”