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.

Our biggest accomplishment in 2018 was, of course, winning not one but two groundbreaking laws protecting our food and drinking water from toxic nonstick PFAS.

This upcoming legislative session we can build on our success by championing the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act. This legislation will reduce the use of harmful classes of chemicals in consumer products that are of particular concern to vulnerable populations like kids, pregnant women, and vulnerable species like orcas.

The recent focus on the decline of Puget Sound’s orcas and the recognition that toxic chemicals are one of the main threats to their survival is a wake-up call that our current way of regulating chemicals is failing. It is no coincidence that the same chemicals showing up in our breastmilk, food, and house dust, and harming human health, are also in stormwater, waterways, and wildlife, threatening the health of these majestic animals. It’s time to turn off the sources of these chemicals and protect our future.

When we decided to take on PFAS a few years ago, none of us ever imagined that the scope of the problem would be as big as it is today. Widespread PFAS contamination touches the entire country, including here in Washington, and is the perfect example of the injustice that can occur when chemicals are put in products without being tested for safety. The chemicals’ extensive use mean they are in our food, bodies, drinking water, and environment, and that we will be dealing with them for decades to come.

We need to prevent the use of harmful chemicals BEFORE they become the next PFAS or PCBs. The Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act provides the bold action that is needed to prevent pollution and not only help protect orcas, but future generations too.

Stay tuned for more details on the legislation and on how you can help us in the campaign. Together, I know we can win!

By Laurie Valeriano, Toxic-Free Future, and Mike Schade, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Yesterday, our new report revealed that toxic PFAS chemicals are hiding in common takeout packaging and other food contact materials at some of the nation’s largest and most popular grocery stores. 

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(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 

Conference participants watch testing of PFAS-free firefighting foams

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 

Fireman uses PFAS-containing firefighting foam.

(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 

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 

Governor Jay Inslee spoke at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Convention last week. In his remarks, Governor Inslee talked about Washington’s commitment to reducing toxic chemical exposures for firefighters – specifically calling out the state’s first-in-the-nation bans on PBDE flame retardants and nonstick PFAS chemicals. 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 

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 

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 

United behind the belief that cancer-causing nonstick “PFAS” chemicals do not belong in our food, our bodies, or the environment, over 30 leading health, environmental, community, and faith organizations have come together in the 2018 legislative session to urge passage of the Healthy Food Packaging Act (HB 2658/SB 6396).

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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.

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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 

Top Tips for Avoiding toxic flame retardants

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 

shopping cart toxci-free

You may have seen the big news: hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates found in macaroni and cheese and other cheese products. The story was huge in print, TV, and on social media. Macaroni and cheese or any food shouldn’t be contaminated with industrial chemicals that can mess with hormones.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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cat watching TV

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.

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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.

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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.

Let us know in the comments why YOU give.

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