Legislature Funds Critical Toxics Prevention Efforts in 2021-23 Budget

The 2021-23 Biennial Budget adopted by the Washington state legislature included important funding for toxics and the Safer Products for Washington program, which stops pollution that threatens our health, drinking water supplies, and communities.

The budget included critical funding for:

  • Testing for toxic chemicals in products.

    Toxic chemicals lurking in everything from lipstick to raingear cause a path of pollution from manufacturing to use and disposal—leaving contamination problems in our homes, waters, and even our own bodies. Preventing highly toxic per-and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), phthalates, and other toxics from causing this pollution starts with knowing which products contain toxic chemicals. Federal regulatory systems allow companies to hide the toxic ingredients in their products and don’t require the safest chemicals and materials to be used.

    The Department of Ecology has a program to test for chemicals in products, which allows them to enforce bans and informs action on additional chemicals.

    $2.3 million was included in the final budget for expanded product testing.
  • Passing a strong bill is great, but making sure the law is funded and implemented is even better. Washington state legislators have passed several landmark toxics bills in recent years, including the Safer Products for Washington Act in 2019. Full funding is the only way state agencies can implement these policies and keep the most harmful toxics out of products we use every day.

    The state is at a critical stage of implementation. The Departments of Ecology and Health need to carry out scientific analyses to identify safer alternatives before they can enact bans on harmful chemicals used in a wide range of products. We want Washington to continue leading the nation and to protect the most vulnerable populations and species. This law gives our state the power to protect all of us, along with our salmon and orcas, from pollution found everywhere from PFAS in our sheets to toxic flame retardants in TVs.

    $1.5 million was included in the final budget for implementation of the law.
  • Stop using, reusing, and recycling toxic products. We support Ecology’s program that keeps manufacturers from reusing and recycling products, from PFAS firefighting foam to nap mats that contain toxic flame retardants. It is particularly important for low-income communities or others that are most vulnerable to toxic exposures to be able to get these products out of homes, fire stations, businesses, and daycares.

    $6.5 million was included in the final budget for take-back of toxic products.