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First-in-nation ban on lead in cookware signed by Washington state’s governor

Governor Jay Inslee today signed the Lead in Cookware Act

Toxic-Free Future applauds the Governor for taking this important action to protect communities

SEATTLE, WA—Today, Washington’s Governor, Jay Inslee, signed a first-in-the-nation bill that bans lead in cookware. The Lead in Cookware Act (HB 1551), sponsored by Washington State Representative Gerry Pollett (D-46), bans the manufacture and sale of any cookware or cookware component containing lead or lead compounds at a level of more than five parts per million (5 ppm) by 2026.

“We are thrilled that the state legislature and Governor Inslee have put a ban on lead in cookware to protect the most vulnerable populations,” said Megan Liu, science and policy manager for Toxic-Free Future. “We have seen firsthand the high levels of lead contaminating cookware across communities in King County, and it is shocking that brain-harming lead can still be found in cookware. This measure will be critical in protecting our homes, food, and communities from unnecessary exposures to this harmful chemical. We thank Rep. Pollett (D-Seattle) and Senator Robinson (D-Everett) for their leadership on this bill.”

There is widespread scientific agreement that there is no safe level of exposure to lead, especially for children. Lead exposure is linked to behavioral problems, high blood pressure, kidney damage, and memory and learning difficulties.

As part of a King County lead awareness program, Toxic-Free Future conducted 17 lead testing events with nine different community partners throughout King County from 2022 to 2023. High levels of lead were found in a variety of cookware, including pots, pans, and pressure cookers. The program found some products to contain as much as 1,624 ppm of lead, which is more than 300 times the limit that will be in place in Washington.

We are really pleased with the result of this legislative session; it’s the culmination of years of research work and partnerships with the community,” said Katie Fellows, Environmental Scientist, Hazardous Waste Management Program, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “There is no safe level of lead, and for children, even small exposures can cause serious and permanent health issues. Individuals who are low-income, immigrants and refugees, and people of color are at increased risk of lead poisoning. This is why ‘primary prevention’ efforts like house bill 1551 are important, and it will have a significant impact on Washington families’ well-being, ensuring we have healthy and thriving communities.”

“The ban on lead in cookware represents a significant victory not only for the AHI and Afghan communities but also for numerous other communities,” Navid Hamidi, Executive Director of Afghan Health Initiative. “For years, many immigrant groups faced the challenge of navigating life in the United States while dealing with language barriers and health risks caused by lead exposure from cookware. This ban alleviates a major health concern for our children and lifts a burden that has long weighed on our communities.”

The Governor also signed SB 5931, sponsored by Senator Jesse Salomon (D-32), which directs the Department of Ecology to address 6PPD in all tires under the Safer Products for Washington law. 6PPD is a chemical linked to the death of coho salmon and is put into tires for durability.

“It’s time to find safer options for tires that won’t kill salmon,” said Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Toxic-Free Future. “This measure helps move the ball forward, so a ban on 6PPD in all tires can be put into place once safer alternatives are found.”


Toxic-Free Future is a national leader in environmental health research and advocacy. Through the power of science, education, and activism, Toxic-Free Future drives strong laws and corporate responsibility that protects the health of all people and the planet.


Stephanie Stohler
[email protected] 


Source: State of Washington’s TVW

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Stephanie Stohler, [email protected]

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