With fires raging all along the west coast this season, the importance of firefighters’ work has never been more clear. But beyond the obvious dangers are the toxic hazards they face at work. For many, one of their greatest concerns is the chemical exposures they get on the job and the potential for those exposures to lead to cancer. Cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters, and they have higher rates of cancer than the general population.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began in the United States this spring, many families have increased their use of disinfectants for routine cleaning at home. And, according to new research by Indiana University scientists, one undesirable result has been greater exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in the home.
In 2017, Toxic-Free Future and a coalition of partners petitioned the state Board of Health to create a drinking water standard for PFAS. The standard would provide much-needed public health protections and accountability for chemical companies that have been contaminating Washingtonians’ water and leaving communities on the hook for the costly clean-up.
The following letters were sent to the Senate Commerce Committee’s Chairman Roger Wicker and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, opposing the nomination of Nancy Beck to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The Washington Department of Ecology has recently taken bold new steps to regulate toxic chemicals in products. The action comes as the agency implements its groundbreaking Safer Products for Washington law, adopted in 2019 to protect the health of the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, highly impacted communities, and marine life including salmon and orcas. The law directs Ecology to identify priority products that are a significant source of or use of PFAS, toxic flame retardants, industrial phenolic compounds, phthalates, and PCBs.
In Seattle, we are proud to be the home of Denis Hayes, founder of Earth Day and current President and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation. Denis recognized decades ago how critically important it is to end the unnecessary use of dangerous chemicals that contribute to chronic disease. Now more than ever, this must be a public health priority because people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of dying from COVID-19.
Now that we are spending more time at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, many are wondering how to safely and effectively clean house to prevent infection. We are fortunate that our partners at Women’s Voices for the Earth have done the research, which we’ve adapted into three safer cleaning tips.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Beth Kemler of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
Today is National Teflon Day—but that is NOT cause for celebration. It is one of the worst “holidays” we can imagine because it’s the anniversary of the accidental invention of the first non-stick chemical that would eventually become Teflon in 1938. Since then, chemical companies have invented many other chemicals in the same class—per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). And these chemicals, which are used for stain, grease, and water resistance, have gone on the market with little to no testing, ending up in everyday products and contaminating our food, air, water, and bodies. Scientists have found links between PFAS chemicals and health problems such as cancer, hormone disruption, and harm to the immune system. Some PFAS never break down in the environment, leading scientists to call them “forever chemicals.” Continue reading
Contacts: Laurie Valeriano, Executive Director of Toxic-Free Future – 206-200-2824; Jaime Smith, Grit City Strategy & Communications (on behalf of TFF) – 253-334-5670
(Olympia, WA) – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation that puts Washington State at the forefront of the effort to phase out PFAS in firefighting foam. The state Legislature in 2018 passed a first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of PFAS-containing firefighting foam for most uses, but exempted some of the biggest contributors such as oil facilities, chemical plants and airports. The Safer Firefighting Foam Act signed today eliminates those exemptions and creates the strongest state ban in the country. Continue reading
MEDIA CONTACT: Jaime Smith, (253) 334-5670, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fast-casual chain Sweetgreen has announced it is phasing out per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its bowls by the end of this year. The company is working with the packaging company Footprint on an alternative that it has already begun to roll out in some stores.