The dangerous class of nonstick chemicals called “PFAS” contaminates drinking water, communities, and people across the United States. One of the culprits: PFAS put into firefighting foams used at airports as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA requirement means that these foams remain a big concern when it comes to PFAS pollution, unnecessarily exposing communities and firefighters to the dangerous chemicals.
(Olympia, WA) – The Washington State Senate has passed precedent-setting legislation to eliminate sources of toxic chemicals that are harmful to orcas and humans. The Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act (SSB 5135), sponsored by Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), implements recommendations put forward by Governor Inslee’s Orca Task Force. It passed the Senate with a vote of 25-24.
Underwear!? Lip gloss!? PJs!? Oh my! That was our reaction when we looked at the over 8700 new reports of toxic chemicals in kids’ products sold in Washington state. Manufacturers reported putting chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and neurological problems in products kids use to play, bathe, and sleep. When you consider that just one report can mean there are hundreds or even thousands of that product for sale in Washington, that’s a lot of toxic chemicals on store shelves.
It’s time for immediate action to address the toxic chemicals harming orcas and people! That’s why over 40 organizations have come together to urge action on the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act.
Seattle, WA – Toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and
neurological problems remain in kids’ products sold in Washington state,
according to an analysis of new reports filed by manufacturers of kids’
products with the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology). Kids can be
exposed to the chemicals when they use the products or when the chemicals
escape the products into the air and house dust and people breathe or ingest
As 2018 draws to a close, I am reflecting on the year and all that we accomplished together. The Toxic-Free Future team is also getting ready for the 2019 state legislative session and the chance to win more protections for our health and the environment. Continue reading →
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Takeout food packaging from several leading U.S. grocery stores is likely treated with harmful PFAS chemicals, according to a new study released today by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Toxic-Free Future. PFAS are highly persistent and toxic chemicals whose widespread use has contaminated drinking water across the country. When used in food packaging, the chemicals can leach out of the packaging and get into the food, people, compost, and the environment. Continue reading →
Toxic-Free Future had a busy year fighting chemical supervillains. The support of our partners, action takers, and donors gave Toxic-Free Future the SUPERPOWERS we needed to win strong health protections for families, communities, and the environment in Washington State and beyond. Continue reading →
Toxic-Free Future’s Science Director, Erika Schreder, recently traveled to a conference in Dallas to gain more expertise on firefighting foams. She wanted to find out how well PFAS-free foams perform as we work with airports and refineries to stop the use of PFAS-containing foams. This research is critical as states and the Federal Aviation Administration consider restrictions on PFAS containing foams. Continue reading →
Seattle – Today, Governor Inslee’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force released its recommendations for protecting the endangered southern resident orca population, including recommendations for reducing threats posed by toxic contaminants. Toxic pollution is one of the major threats to orcas, not only affecting orca health but also the availability of their favored food source, Chinook salmon. Continue reading →
Shopping at a store shouldn’t involve guesswork about whether a TV contains toxic flame retardants or a shampoo is made with hormone-disrupting chemicals. But the reality is that consumers are hard-put to make healthy decisions for their families because there are few restrictions on the toxic chemicals used in consumer products. Continue reading →
A company as big as Amazon has tremendous power to change the marketplace with any move it makes. So its silence on reducing toxic chemicals in its products has been troubling. But that changed recently with a new announcement that the company has adopted a new chemicals policy to reduce harmful chemicals in some of its products and provide consumers with better information on chemical ingredients. Continue reading →
(Seattle, WA) – Today Congress directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow airports to use firefighting foam free of highly fluorinated chemicals or PFAS. PFAS-containing firefighting foam is responsible for the contamination of drinking water of millions of Americans across the country, including in the Washington state communities of Issaquah, Whidbey Island, and Airway Heights. Continue reading →
We have an exciting few months ahead of us at Toxic-Free Future. There are a number of campaigns around the corner, including protecting our kids and Puget Sound from toxic chemicals in consumer products, and calling on chemical makers to clean up communities polluted with nonstick PFAS chemicals. But to achieve these goals, we need YOUR help.Continue reading →
Toxic-Free Future’s annual cocktail party in is just around the corner! We invite you to join us for an evening of community, activism, and fun. And did we mention delicious craft mocktails and cocktails? Continue reading →
Over the last month we’ve been glued to news reports about Tahlequah, the 22-year-old Southern Resident Killer Whale that carried her dead calf hundreds of miles for nearly three weeks. I had tears in my eyes more than once thinking about the baby orca that had deadly chemicals flowing from its mother to its body before it even had a chance to be born. We know that this is what happens with human babies too. Continue reading →
Early childhood is a period of rapid development. Babies learn to crawl and then walk, speak in coherent sentences, and begin to develop self-control, all in just a few short years. It is a sad reality that our environment puts a lot of hurdles in the way of young children. Exposure to toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products is one of these hurdles that may impair kids’ ability to learn and reach developmental milestones. Continue reading →
You may not find them included in the ingredient list, on the nutrition label, or anywhere on the food package. Yet they can impact your health just as sugar or hydrogenated oils can. They are hidden toxic chemicals and they’re contaminating our food. Continue reading →
It’s not new news that lead exposure at a young age can harm kids’ ability to learn. But what may be surprising is how many Washington and King County residents aren’t tested for lead or suffer from the harmful effects of lead. Continue reading →
Getting harmful chemicals out of products so that our homes, bodies and environment are healthier is a job that requires action at all levels of government, as well as in the private sector. A new Safer Alternatives Strategy resolution passed by the King County Board of Health last month is an important step in local efforts to protect residents and the environment from toxic chemicals. Continue reading →
Michael is a firefighter and the Legislative Liaison for the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF). WSCFF is a key partner in our victory to restrict the use of toxic nonstick chemicals in firefighting foam, as well as in our work to stop the use of toxic flame retardants. Continue reading →
I’m a new parent. So when I saw Toxic-Free Future’s new study showing that highly toxic flame retardants – and lots of them –are leaking out of nap mats many kids sleep on in childcare centers, my first reaction was, “What?! You have got to be kidding!” Continue reading →
Childcare providers want to create a healthy space for children to learn, play, and sleep. But childcares that use foam nap mats can have higher levels of toxic flame retardants in their dust. We wondered whether it was possible to reduce kids’ exposures to toxic flame retardants in childcares. Continue reading →
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Toxic-Free Future’s Science Intern Colin Hartke. Colin, along with three other interns Erik Hanley, Sara Petruska, and Jane Nguyen, worked on Toxic-Free Future’s Lead Awareness Project to identify community partners and study participants, as well as assist participants to reduce sources of lead in their homes.
A job posting from Toxic-Free Future immediately caught my attention and piqued my interest. The advertisement called for a School of Public Health graduate student at the University of Washington to collaborate on a project focused on understanding and reducing levels of lead in Puget Sound area homes. Within weeks of first seeing the posting, I found myself diving deep into the project alongside the Toxic-Free Future team. Continue reading →
The legislative session has ended and I am excited to report that the legislature passed not one, but TWO bipartisan bills to protect our water, food, firefighters, health, and environment from harmful nonstick PFAS chemicals!Continue reading →
An important new article from Sharon Lerner in The Intercept highlights the health and environmental problems of newer generation PFAS chemicals used in certain firefighting foams. It uncovers the chemical industry’s dubious claims of safety and efficacy of these foams and why PFAS-free foams could be the better choice. Continue reading →
Extremely persistent and cancer-causing chemicals called PFAS chemicals are used in firefighting foam and gear. They are contaminating drinking water and threatening firefighter health. Continue reading →
We have the opportunity to make real change in 2018 by banning the use of toxic nonstick chemicals (PFAS chemicals) in food packaging, but we need help from health care professionals! When it comes to health issues like toxic chemicals in food, legislators listen to health care professionals– experts who are dedicated to keeping us all healthy. Continue reading →
People often ask me and my staff why we do what we do. That’s easy to answer. I strongly believe that it’s unacceptable that chemical companies can put chemicals into the world without making sure the chemicals won’t harm our health. I also know we can do something about it. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, a new report on children’s environmental health crossed my desk. The findings show that kids’ in the United States are at high risk for chronic diseases like cancer and asthma, some of which can be attributed to increasing exposures to toxic chemicals like toxic flame retardants, lead, and phthalates.
Earlier this year with your help, we convinced the State Board of Health to develop drinking water standards for the extremely persistent and toxic nonstick chemicals called “PFAS” chemicals. Now we need to tackle the sources of these chemicals to prevent future contamination of our water, food, and environment.Continue reading →
Recent reports of high levels of lead in fidget spinners are a good reminder that toxic chemicals remain in kids’ items. Fortunately in Washington state, companies that make toys and other kids’ products have to tell us what chemicals they use in their products by filing reports with the Washington State Department of Ecology. Continue reading →
We’re pleased to report that Costco has announced that it is committing to reducing harmful chemicals in the products it sells by adopting a new Chemicals Management Policy! Fewer hazardous chemicals on Costco’s shelves mean fewer hazardous chemicals in our homes, our bodies, and our environment.
Good news! The Washington State Board of Health is moving forward to establish drinking water standards for cancer-causing PFAS chemicals. This is an important step to protect the health of residents from these toxic chemicals. Thank you to everyone who raised their voice to ask for strong standards! You were heard! Continue reading →
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers, especially pregnant women and young children, to avoid kids’ products, electronics, mattresses, and home furniture that contain certain toxic flame retardants, known as organohalogens. Continue reading →
I have good news! Last week the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to start the process to ban, not just ONE, but an entire class of toxic flame retardants (organohalogens) in electronics, furniture, and kids’ products.
Mac n’ cheese is a simple dish, inexpensive, and most importantly, a kid-pleaser. It’s saved me many a lunch, and the occasional dinner, when my husband and I are too busy or exhausted to fix an elaborate meal for the family. But now I’ve learned that the powdered cheese can contain industrial toxic chemicals called phthalates that experts say could be harmful to young kids and developing fetuses. Knowing this, I’m rethinking my dinner choices until food companies clean up their act.
I just spent the weekend with my family shrimping on Puget Sound. It was fantastic! We caught lots of shrimp to eat (yum!) and saw plenty of wildlife, including orcas. It was particularly special that I was able to share this with my family visiting from Florida.
Ever wonder what taxi drivers and pregnant women have in common? Both were the subjects of fascinating research discussed at the Brominated Flame Retardant (BFR) conference in York, England last month, where I had the good fortune to be present. Disturbingly, new research is showing that increased use of a new generation of flame retardants is serious cause for concern.
Current research shows it’s more important than ever to choose foods wisely for your family to reduce exposure to pesticides, chemicals found in food processing, and industrial pollutants that end up in the food chain. Follow these tips for dishing up and eating healthy food at your table.
Costco members got some welcome news this month about its “Smart Screening” program to address toxic chemicals in some of the products the company sells. According to new updates to Costco’s website, the company is now testing products such as clothing, furniture, personal care products, cleaning products, and others for certain toxic chemicals of “regulatory and social concern,” and keeping products containing other harmful chemicals off its shelves entirely.
I learned a devastating fact this month: rates of thyroid cancer have tripled in the last 30 years and researchers have linked the increase to high levels of toxic flame retardants in house dust. Continue reading →
They are chemicals that are hard to avoid – found in everything from TVs to toys to food, and contaminate homes, offices, and dorm rooms. Scientists keep uncovering new evidence that toxic flame retardants aren’t good for our health, even as companies continue to use them. Cats, thyroid cancer, dorm rooms, and toys are just the latest examples that these chemicals threaten our health and shouldn’t be allowed in products in our homes.
Those of us lucky enough to consider ourselves residents of the Puget Sound region rely on the Sound for its exceptional beauty, for recreation of many kinds, and for our economy. But besides the human residents, the fish and wildlife that call Puget Sound home rely on it for clean water and safe food.
It’s no accident that our new tagline “Science – Advocacy – Results” puts science first. Science is the cornerstone of everything we do at Toxic-Free Future. So I am very concerned about recent attacks on science by those who want to undermine protections for our health and environment.
At Toxic-Free Future, we couldn’t do our science and advocacy work without the generous support of our donors. As we gear up for the spring fund drive, we asked donors why they give to TFF. Here’s what just a few had to say.
Are there toxic chemicals in children’s products? The simple answer is “YES.” But the truth is that for most products and chemicals, it’s impossible to know because companies can keep the ingredients a secret. Continue reading →
Seattle, WA – A new U.S. EPA management plan released today to address harmful nonstick PFAS chemicals in drinking water in Washington state and across the country does not include the urgent actions needed to help affected communities or protect the health of residents and the environment, says the environmental health advocacy group Toxic-Free Future.
Millions of Americans, including residents in several Washington communities, have drinking water contaminated with the toxic chemicals. PFAS are extraordinarily persistent, not known to degrade in the environment, and linked to cancer and harm to the immune system. In 2018, Washington state became the first state to ban the use of the chemicals in firefighting foam and food packaging.
The EPA PFAS management plan was issued by the Trump Administration in response to the nationwide health crisis created by the widespread and unregulated use of PFAS. While states across the country are taking action to regulate PFAS more broadly, EPA’s plan proposes to develop drinking water standards for just two PFAS chemicals – PFOA and PFOS. There are thousands more chemicals in the PFAS class, some of which are showing up in drinking water in the state and used in firefighting foam and many consumer products.
The following is a statement by Toxic-Free Future Science Director
“There is an urgent need to stop the
use of PFAS. We must turn off the tap of these chemicals that are flowing into
our homes and waterways.
The EPA plan will not protect
Washingtonians from these harmful chemicals that last indefinitely in the
environment and get into drinking water. Washington state is far ahead of EPA
in providing residents real protections from these chemicals and must continue
Washington state must continue its work to set stringing drinking
water limits and implement the recommendations in the state’s PFAS chemical
action plan, including addressing the use of PFAS in carpets, textiles, and
providing assistance to communities with contaminated drinking water. The
Washington State Legislature must provide the Department of Ecology with adequate authority and funding
to take more immediate action to phase out the use of PFAS in consumer
Currently, the Washington State Legislature is considering a bill to allow the Department of Ecology to take protective measures to reduce PFAS contamination from consumer products. HB 1194/ SB 5135 are sponsored by Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia) and Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island).