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Washington retailer REI has the opportunity to lead the outdoor industry away from PFAS

Washington state leads the nation with bold laws that prevent the use of dangerous chemicals in products. The Safer Products for Washington law targets the persistent class of PFAS for elimination, and our business community can lead by adopting safer solutions now. Apparel is a major use of PFAS—added for water and stain proofing. That’s why we’re asking REI to lead the outdoor industry away from the use of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

One of the first things I did after moving to Seattle more than 20 years ago was to become a member of REI, not just because I needed rain gear, but because I agreed with their environmental values and their commitment to being good stewards. However, their decision to put their name on and sell products that contain dangerous chemicals that pollute drinking water supplies, wildlife, and even breast milk starkly contradicts their statements on sustainability. 

The company has taken some small steps to limit PFAS in a few products—that’s good. But  REI still sells jackets, boots, snow gear, and other items that are treated with toxic PFAS. The use of these chemicals in outdoor products contributes to the pollution of the entire planet with “forever chemicals,” impacting the health of people, wildlife, and the environment. 

As one of the biggest outdoor retailers in the country, REI has the opportunity to be a leader in transitioning the outdoor industry away from PFAS. So we’re excited to launch a national campaign and petition calling on REI to phase out and ban PFAS in all private-label and brand-name products it sells.  

Our Mind the Store campaign director, Mike Schade, wrote a blog post about the launch of this campaign. Read more and sign the petition to let REI know that we demand safer products that are free of PFAS! Read the letter from 119 organizations calling on REI to lead the outdoor industry away from PFAS