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Update on Washington state’s chemical action plan on PFAS

Update on Washington State’s Chemical Action Plan on PFAS

Last December Toxic-Free Future called for action, asking you to join us in submitting comments advocating for a stronger, swifter chemical action plan (CAP) on PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoralkyl substances) from Washington State’s Department of Ecology (Ecology). Along with our allies, we also just submitted comments directly to the Department of Ecology this month on their draft CAP, which can be found here.

Our state legislature has adopted ground-breaking bans on PFAS, as a class, in food packaging and firefighting foam. But PFAS is used in so many more products, including apparel, furniture, carpeting, non-stick cookware, and more. It is vital that we regulate them in major product categories that represent the largest uses of PFAS.

In their draft CAP, Ecology doesn’t go far enough. Indeed, it does include some of the big offenders: carpeting, textiles, and leather furnishings. But when it comes to textiles that represent the largest use of PFAS, apparel should be included as a Safer Products for Washington priority product because apparel is also a PFAS major use category. PFAS is used in many apparel textiles, including firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE), and its use in apparel is also increasing with the growing popularity of athleisure and performance wear. This makes it very important for the state to include apparel as a priority product now instead of waiting several years. 

We’re also asking Ecology to ensure that communities are protected from PFAS-contaminated sites and that site clean-up timelines are sped up. Ecology should also adopt strong PFAS drinking water standards in 2021 and expand drinking water supply testing, ensure safe disposal of PFAS-containing products, and fully implement Washington’s ban on PFAS in paper food packaging.

A complete version of our comments can be accessed below.