Passage of the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act. Toxic-Free Future led the fight in passing what is now the nation’s strongest law regulating toxic chemicals in products in Washington State. The law directs our state agencies to identify and take action on chemicals in products that harm the most sensitive among us: our kids, pregnant women, and even endangered species like orca whales. It is common-sense groundbreaking legislation that prevents pollution where it starts and sets a precedent for the rest of the country.
After Washington State’s ban on the sale of toxic PFAS firefighting foam, the federal government is following suit. It’s so exciting to see actions that start in our state shake up the whole country. Last year Toxic-Free Future led the fight in passing two first-in-nation laws restricting toxic nonstick PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from use in firefighting foam and food packaging. Not only have other states since followed suit, the federal government has been reevaluating whether PFAS belong in firefighting foam due to widespread drinking water contamination. Congress has directed the Federal Aviation Administration to allow airports across the country to use PFAS-free foams, and it is also looking to ban military use of PFAS foams within the next five years.
Our study of food packaging prompted Whole Foods to phase out PFAS chemicals in its food packaging nationwide. Toxic-Free Future partnered with the Mind the Store campaign in testing food packaging materials at a number of grocery chains for PFAS chemicals. After finding that many Whole Foods food packaging materials contained PFAS, Whole Foods voluntarily removed all products containing PFAS as highlighted in the report. This action will protect millions across the country from a major exposure to these highly toxic and persistent chemicals.
Protecting communities from toxic drinking water and firefighters from toxic exposures. Working with firefighters, Toxic-Free Future won passage of a first-in-the-nation ban on toxic PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam. Cancer-causing PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam contaminate drinking water of thousands of Washington residents and threaten firefighter health. This ban is a big win for families and firefighters, and it provides a model and the momentum for other states to pass their own protections.
Making food safer for kids and families. Toxic-Free Future advocated for and won passage of a groundbreaking law to keep toxic nonstick chemicals (PFASs) out of paper food packaging. Keeping these highly persistent chemicals away from our food, compost, and landfills protects our health and environment.
Safeguarding kids from toxic flame retardants in childcares. Toxic-Free Future’s latest peer-reviewed study shows that it’s possible to significantly reduce kids’ exposures to toxic flame retardants in childcares by getting rid of one product that contains flame retardants – foam nap mats. This groundbreaking study provides critical evidence for policymakers to ensure all childcares have access to flame retardant-free nap mats and to ban the use of toxic flame retardants in consumer products like electronics.
We helped expand Washington state’s groundbreaking chemical reporting law for children’s products so that consumers and policymakers have better information on chemicals in toys and other products for kids. We also convinced Washington state to move forward with drinking water standards for toxic nonstick chemicals. Our advocacy and organizing helped convince Costco to adopt a chemical policy and to evaluate the chemicals in the products it sells and consider restrictions on their use. And our latest study uncovered high levels of toxic flame retardants in TVs, and helped convince the nation’s top consumer watchdog agency, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, to ban certain flame retardants in TVs and other consumer products. You can read more about our victories in 2017 here.
We successfully championed the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, a ban on new generation toxic flame retardants. The new Washington state law phases out five toxic flame retardants —TDCPP, TCEP, HBCD, TBBPA, and deca-BDE—in furniture and children’s products. It also creates a process for the state to take additional action on six more flame retardants.
In 2014 we worked collaboratively with Seattle Gymnastics Academy (SGA) to test for toxic flame retardants in SGA air and dust that originated in the facilities’ large amount of foam equipment. The results prompted the owner of SGA to switch out all uncovered foam in all SGA facilities to foam free of toxic flame retardants.
Manufacturers of children’s products began reporting the presence of toxic chemicals in their products in Washington state thanks to the passage of the Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008. This disclosure has given consumers and policymakers critical information about chemicals used in products for children. It has also driven many companies to adopt Washington’s reporting list in their chemical policies, including Apple, Walmart, Target, Toys “R” Us, Triboro Quilt Co, and PVH Corporation (brands include Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Speedo).
We advocated for and won a ban on the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Now baby bottles, children’s food and beverage containers and sports bottles are free of this dangerous industrial compound.
We helped establish the strongest standards in the nation for lead, cadmium, and phthalates in kids’ products through passage of the Children’s Safe Products Act. This law also put in place strong new requirements for makers of children’s products to disclose harmful chemicals in their products that range from pacifiers and toys to cribs, car seats and shampoos. Passage of that law led Congress to adopt national standards.
Standing up to the chemical industry lobbying efforts, we played a pivotal role in banning PBDE toxic flame retardants in televisions, mattresses, and home furniture, including the first-ever ban on deca-BDE.
We helped establish the nation’s first program to phase out some of the worst toxic chemicals called persistent toxic chemicals (PBTs). As a result of that program, we advanced legislation to phase out mercury in 2003 and led to state action plans on lead, PCBs, and PBDE flame retardants.