The Department of Ecology (Ecology) recently took a first step in implementing the state’s PFAS ban in food packaging by issuing an alternatives assessment that identifies safer alternatives for some important applications, including wraps and liners, plates, food boats, and pizza boxes. Because of this assessment, a statewide ban on PFAS in these four food packaging categories will now go into effect in early 2023. Continue reading
By Colin Hartke
Update: Read the comments that Toxic-Free Future, Healthy Building Network, and Natural Resources Defense Council submitted to the Department of Commerce Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard Team.
From PFAS to toxic flame retardants, dangerous chemicals harmful to health are in the materials used to build housing, including affordable housing. These chemicals don’t stay put in flooring, insulation, and other materials; they get into indoor air and dust. This means that families and communities are exposed to toxic chemicals even at home. Continue reading
Last December Toxic-Free Future called for action, asking you to join us in submitting comments advocating for a stronger, swifter chemical action plan (CAP) on PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoralkyl substances) from Washington State’s Department of Ecology (Ecology). Along with our allies, we also just submitted comments directly to the Department of Ecology this month on their draft CAP, which can be found here. Continue reading
It’s crystal clear now that PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) are bad-actor chemicals that need to be eliminated. But with federal action slow and inadequate, it’s up to states like Washington to step out and show how we can turn off the tap, stopping PFAS at the source and cleaning up contamination. The Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) current draft chemical action plan (CAP) to address PFAS falls short by taking too long to take action on important PFAS sources and it is not comprehensive enough to end the PFAS contamination crisis. But we have a chance to improve it now with strong public support.
With fires raging all along the west coast this season, the importance of firefighters’ work has never been more clear. But beyond the obvious dangers are the toxic hazards they face at work. For many, one of their greatest concerns is the chemical exposures they get on the job and the potential for those exposures to lead to cancer. Cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters, and they have higher rates of cancer than the general population.
In 2017, Toxic-Free Future and a coalition of partners petitioned the state Board of Health to create a drinking water standard for PFAS. The standard would provide much-needed public health protections and accountability for chemical companies that have been contaminating Washingtonians’ water and leaving communities on the hook for the costly clean-up.
The Washington Department of Ecology has recently taken bold new steps to regulate toxic chemicals in products. The action comes as the agency implements its groundbreaking Safer Products for Washington law, adopted in 2019 to protect the health of the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, highly impacted communities, and marine life including salmon and orcas. The law directs Ecology to identify priority products that are a significant source of or use of PFAS, toxic flame retardants, industrial phenolic compounds, phthalates, and PCBs.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Beth Kemler of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.
Today is National Teflon Day—but that is NOT cause for celebration. It is one of the worst “holidays” we can imagine because it’s the anniversary of the accidental invention of the first non-stick chemical that would eventually become Teflon in 1938. Since then, chemical companies have invented many other chemicals in the same class—per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). And these chemicals, which are used for stain, grease, and water resistance, have gone on the market with little to no testing, ending up in everyday products and contaminating our food, air, water, and bodies. Scientists have found links between PFAS chemicals and health problems such as cancer, hormone disruption, and harm to the immune system. Some PFAS never break down in the environment, leading scientists to call them “forever chemicals.” Continue reading