A bill targeting the toxic chemicals found in water-resistant containers and firefighting foam will become law, Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced on Monday.

House Bill 1644, introduced by state Rep. Nicole Lowen, prohibits the manufacture, sale, and distribution of wraps and liners, plates, food boats, and pizza boxes that “intentionally” contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS after Dec. 31, 2024.

The legislation also bans the use of these chemicals after July 1, 2024 in firefighting foam used for training and testing purposes. The law would allow the use of PFAS-containing foam however to extinguish petroleum fires.

PFAS are a class of chemicals used to make a wide variety of goods including cookware, clothing and furniture to make them resistant to fire, water and stains. However, they are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment. As a result, these chemicals are found everywhere, including in Honolulu’s drinking water and in the blood of most Americans, according to the CDC. They are suspected of causing health problems, including thyroid problems, infertility and cancer.

Manufacturers who violate Hawaii’s new law, called Act 152, will be subject to a $5,000 fine for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

“These chemicals that accumulate in the environment are a hazard to human health,” Ige said at a press conference on Monday. “This bill is one step closer towards a sustainable, clean Hawaii, a Hawaii free of toxic chemicals.”

In a statement, Lowen said the measure is especially timely given that earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new evidence showing that PFAS are more dangerous than previously thought.  

“There is a need for rapid action to reduce human exposure to these toxic chemicals and this bill is an important first step for Hawaii to do just that,” she said.

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