Washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, dishwashers, vacuums, floor cleaners, toasters, air fryers, coffeemakers, ovens, and numerous other appliances that use PFAS chemicals could soon be illegal in Michigan.

Republican lawmakers in Lansing are raising the alarm about legislation introduced by Democrats to ban the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, that have been used in a wide range of appliances, clothing, food packaging, and thousands of other products for decades.

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House Bill 5657, introduced by East Lansing Democratic Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou in late April, is intended to protect Michiganders and the environment from the synthetic “forever” chemicals that do not easily break down, but Republicans contend the measure will come with major consequences most residents can’t afford.

“Democrats are going to make us all live like they did on the Little House on the Prairie,” Caledonia Republican Rep. Angela Rigas said. “Banning central components for household appliances will make it so only the richest people can afford them. We’re all concerned about PFAS, but sloppy legislation like this will have unintended consequences that extend far beyond their intent. Regular people won’t feel very protected while they’re forced to drink spoiled milk and wash their clothes in a nearby river.”

Tsernoglou contends the sacrifice is worth the cost, arguing PFAS detected in drinking water supplies worldwide likely contribute to health complications including birth defects and cancer.

“Protecting our environment and public health is paramount, and these bills represent crucial steps towards achieving that goal,” she said. “By phasing out PFAS in household products, we’re taking a significant step towards a healthier, safer future for generations to come.”

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HB 5657 would effectively ban the sale of household products containing “intentionally added PFAS” beginning Jan. 1, 2027, though the legislation includes a vague process that would allow bureaucrats at the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to exempt products “if they find that the PFAS used in them are currently unavoidable,” according to a Tsernaglou statement.

The bill would totally ban all products with PFAS not granted an exemption by Jan. 1, 2032.

Products specifically cited in the bill include most kinds of apparel, carpets and rugs, cleaning products, cookware, cosmetics, dental floss, fabric treatments, children’s items like car seats and bouncers, menstruation products, textile furnishings, ski wax, upholstered furniture, and many others.

PFAS is also present in numerous electronics, including smartphones and tablets, televisions, wiring, solar panels, speakers, and microphones.

The bill exempts firefighting foam, known as one of the leading contributors of PFAS contamination.

Those who violate the proposed law would face up to 93 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense, with the fine increasing to $1,500 for a second. A third offense would be a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Aside from the obvious impact on consumers, Republicans note HB 5657 may violate the Interstate Commerce Clause, and would effectively block parts used in wind turbines, solar panels, and hydrogen fuel cells the state is relying on to meet government-imposed climate goals.

“Radical environmentalists embedded in our Legislature are so bent on pleasing coastal elites that they’re pursing legislation that would blow up a plan they passed less than a year ago” to combat the changing climate, Rigas said.

Rigas contends Democrats must “pick a lane” and either ditch HB 5657, or “their fancy windmills are going in the dumpster right next to our refrigerators.”

HB 5657 is currently in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation.