Our Mission and History
Toxic-Free Future is creating a healthier tomorrow by advocating for the use of safer products, chemicals, and practices through advanced research, grassroots organizing, and consumer engagement.
Toxic-Free Future (TFF) was originally founded in Seattle, WA, in 1981 as Washington Toxics Coalition, a local grassroots group dedicated to reducing dangerous pesticide use in forests and on roadsides and farms. More than 40 years later, we have evolved into a leading national organization that drives strong laws and corporate responsibility that protect the health of all people and the planet.
In the beginning, our local actions included working with communities in Washington state to clean up toxic waste sites, drive pollution prevention at industrial facilities, and advance pesticide restrictions in parks, schools, agriculture, and communities. A successful education program with a consumer hotline provided help to thousands of people seeking safer solutions from pest control to cleaning products.
Recognizing that effectively stopping toxic pollution to protect those most impacted requires major changes to systems that allow the production and use of toxic chemicals, we transitioned to influencing statewide policy. With strong science and policy programs combined with our diverse partnerships and coalitions, we have tackled some of the most harmful chemicals in our homes and products, from flame retardants in furniture and electronics to bisphenols in baby bottles.
Toxic-Free Future has a long history of delivering results. It includes:
- Achieving the strongest lead limits on toys in the nation, which led to national reform
- Establishing the first comprehensive reporting system for toxic chemicals in children’s products
- Winning an innovative state regulatory program that is leading to strong restrictions on the most hazardous classes of chemicals in products from building materials to personal care products
Toxic-Free Future’s achievements in Washington are often models adopted in other states and at the federal level. Regulatory action in Washington has also resulted in companies reducing their use of hazardous chemicals in products nationwide and globally.
Our track record, expertise, and influence led to our national expansion in 2020 when the successful Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Mind the Store campaigns, focused on federal policy and marketplace transformation, joined TFF.
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families was founded in 2009 by environmental health trailblazer Andy Igrejas. Andy led a team who built a diverse coalition of hundreds of organizations and businesses that worked together to reform our nation’s broken chemical safety system. The campaign won reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2016. He created the Mind the Store campaign in 2013 with coalition partners to increase the urgency for reform and to drive retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals and adopt comprehensive corporate chemical policies. Since the launch of Mind the Store, we’ve won commitments from dozens of retailers to reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals in key product categories. Andy passed away in 2018 and we miss him dearly. Our staff and coalition partners honor his legacy by carrying on this work.
Today, Toxic-Free Future deploys a unique combination of resources and strategies to transform the toxic chemical economy using a proven approach:
- Target significant sources of dangerous chemicals and pollution for reduction
- Base our work in strong science and conduct original research and investigations to educate government and corporate decision makers and the public
- Lead efforts to advance policies at all levels of government and in corporations that are rooted in prevention—requiring transparency of toxic chemical use, assessment of hazards, and use of safest solutions
- Develop long-term partnerships and coalitions and strategically mobilize the public to press for government and corporate action
Our work is leading to transformational changes in the marketplace and government. New protective policies will reduce harmful chemicals and pollution—from production and use to disposal. Reducing the presence of toxic chemicals paves the way for safer, more sustainable solutions that will protect the health of all people and communities, especially those disproportionately exposed to pollution due to systemic racism, sexism, economic status, or proximity to manufacturing or disposal.