As a national leader in environmental health research and advocacy, Toxic-Free Future uses the power of science, education, and activism, to drive strong laws and corporate responsibility that protect the health of all people and the planet.
Driving strong laws at the state and federal levels
Through federal laws for our country
We’ve prompted powerful federal laws that protect people and the planet from toxic threats.
- U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has banned deadly methylene chloride-based paint strippers for consumer use.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took action on toxic flame retardants in consumer products from electronics to mattresses.
- Through the passage of the PFAS Firefighter Protection Act, Congress is addressing the PFAS pollution crisis caused in part by the military’s use of toxic firefighting foam — a major contaminant of drinking water for people nationwide and poses a cancer risk for firefighters.
- We sued the EPA and won, requiring EPA to evaluate exposures to “legacy” uses in its risk evaluations — this is especially significant for workers who are continuing to be exposed to chemicals like asbestos.
For more, visit our Federal Policy page.
Through state policies in Washington
Our Washington state work has resulted in many years of victories, including more than a dozen laws that have set the bar for the nation.
- In March 2018, Washington became the first state in the nation to ban PFAS in food packaging through its Healthy Food Packaging Act. Since then, several states from across the country have followed Washington’s lead by adopting similar bans.
- In 2019, Washington State passed precedent-setting legislation, the Safer Products for Washington Act. Protecting people and the environment from toxic pollution, this legislation is the nation’s strongest law regulating toxic chemicals in products—a major source of contamination in our homes, food, waterways, and bodies.
- In 2021, Washington state adopted drinking water action levels in response to our 2017 petition that protects six million people in the state from PFAS
For more, visit our Washington State Policy page
Demanding corporate responsibility and accountability
Through transforming the marketplace
We’ve convinced some of the nation’s biggest retailers to take action to protect consumers, workers, and the environment.
- We’ve won commitments from dozens of companies to end their use of “forever chemicals” in food packaging, from McDonalds to Whole Foods, representing 140,000 locations in over 100 countries worldwide.
- Moved more than a dozen retailers including The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart to eliminate the dangerous chemicals methylene chloride and NMP in paint removal products at over 30,000 stores.
- Won policies from major furniture retailers like Ashley Furniture to eliminate toxic flame retardants from furniture.
- Spurred major retailers including Lowe’s, Rite Aid, Sephora, and Target to adopt comprehensive corporate chemical policies.
For more, visit our Market Transformation page.
Through our Retailer Report Card
We’ve sparked significant updates in corporate chemical policies at large retailers nationwide and in Canada.
Nearly 70% of companies surveyed have better chemical safety programs in 2021 compared to their first evaluation with us, dating as far back as 2016, according to our analysis from the 2021 Retailer Report Card.
For more, visit our Retailer Report Card website.
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Protecting the most vulnerable
Because children and babies have bodies and brains that are still developing, they are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals and pollution.
- Winning common-sense laws that prevent dangerous chemicals and pollution, resulting in safer homes, communities, schools, and child care centers.
- Working with retailers to remove toxic chemicals and plastics from products and packaging that pose unique risks to children’s health.
- Conducting scientific research on chemicals that threaten children’s health and identifying safer options.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Children page.
Black, Brown, and Indigenous people
Though toxic chemical pollution impacts us all, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals in the air, drinking water, the workplace, and from everyday products.
- Using our investigative research to shine a light on communities impacted by pollution from chemical manufacturers and waste disposal facilities.
- Advocating for safer chemical policies for products such as cosmetics marketed to people of color, which often contain some of the most worrisome ingredients.
- Leveraging our retailer report card to help drive toxic chemicals out of products sold at dollar store chains and other low-cost retailers.
- Campaigning to make sure everyone can buy safe products, regardless of price point.
- Working with builders and government agencies to develop stronger protections against toxics in affordable housing.
- Educating government officials with our scientific research, leading to real-world protections for communities that have historically lacked such protections.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Justice page.
Women also face special impacts, with cancers such as breast cancer possibly linked to toxic chemical exposures. When a pregnant woman is exposed to certain chemicals, it affects not just her body, but also the developing fetus, potentially causing lifelong, irreversible harm. Some chemicals can even end up in women’s breast milk. This means that when women are exposed to toxic chemicals, the effects can be intergenerational. And this greater toxic burden is compounded for women of color.
- Conducting scientific research on chemicals that threaten women’s health and identifying safer options.
- Advocating for state and federal policies that ban toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer among other health impacts.
- Securing safer corporate chemical policies that eliminate and phase out harmful chemicals that can harm women’s health.
Safeguarding the air we breathe, water we drink, and the food we eat
Food & Drinking Water
Industrial chemicals make their way into our food and water when factories discharge them to air and water.
- Protecting baby’s first food from toxic chemicals like PFAS through groundbreaking studies and science-based recommendations.
- Empowering everyday consumers with resources and actions to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals that contaminate food.
- Holding polluters accountable for the high financial and health-related costs caused by contaminated drinking water.
- Exposing the facts of pollution, and the toll it is taking, on people who live near these industrial sites.
- Securing corporate and government policies that prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating food and drinking water.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Food & Drinking Water page.
The chemicals in the products we have in our homes — from cleaning products to upholstery to electronics — escape and contaminate us.
- Reducing the use of toxic chemicals in building materials, furniture, electronics, and other products found in the home.
- Empowering consumers to take actions that reduce toxic sources in their homes, such as harmful cleaning products, pesticides, toxic plastic flooring, and PFAS-treated furniture.
- Protecting breastfeeding parents and their infants from unnecessary toxic exposures in their homes.
- Educating lawmakers, retailers, and manufacturers about safer chemical practices and policies.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Homes page.
Fostering healthy, clean, and resilient environments
The climate crisis and the toxic chemical pollution crisis are inextricably intertwined. It’s one big toxic economy.
- Stopping the use of hazardous chemicals like PFAS that contribute to climate change through their manufacture then pollute the drinking water and groundwater resources that will continue to get more and more scarce as climate change impacts increase.
- Driving down the demand for hazardous chemicals and plastics made from oil and gas by convincing retailers and governments to adopt policies.
- Targeting phaseout of materials and chemicals that are both harmful to health and result in climate pollution.
- Increasing the use of safe chemicals and materials that can be reused, recycled and composted.
- Advancing policies that change the current system which favors fossil fuel-based chemicals and materials.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Climate page.
Good jobs are healthy jobs. We educate policymakers and retailers about how they can help build healthy workplaces.
- Protecting workers at chemical plants and oil and gas refineries by reducing the demand for dangerous chemicals.
- Ending the use of PFAS in firefighting foam and firefighter turnout gear.
- Stopping the use of deadly methylene chloride-based paint strippers on the job.
- Winning restrictions on the use of asbestos.
- Reducing the use of toxic chemicals in building materials and furniture to protect everyone who works inside, whether in an office, school, restaurant, or other space.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Workplaces page.
Water & Wildlife
The same chemicals that pollute people and the environment also endanger wildlife, in some cases threatening species extinction. Our work helps to implement policies that protect birds, fish, and other species from toxic pollution.
- Conducting investigations and research that demonstrate how hazardous chemicals used in products and plastics are getting into salmon, orcas, and their prey.
- Winning policies that protect sensitive species like birds, amphibians, salmon, and orcas.
- Advocating for corporate and government policies that address hazards posed to wildlife and drive requirements for the safest options.
For more, visit our Areas of Focus: Water & Wildlife page.