States Step Up to Turn Off Toxic Chemical Tap

May 02, 2019

Drake Skaggs

Thanks to the hard work of advocates all around the country, states are once again adopting much needed policies to protect their citizens from dangerous toxic chemicals.

The Washington state legislature adopted the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act which will be the nation’s strongest policy for protecting communities from toxic chemicals in products. The policy directs the state environmental agency to identify and take action on products containing harmful chemicals that pose a threat to sensitive populations and species like Orcas. Governor Inslee is expected to sign the policy which will allow the state to regulate chemicals by class, and gives the state authority to restrict and/or require companies to disclose if toxic chemicals are in their products. Go Washington! 

On May 30th in New York, the Child Safe Products Act passed both the Senate and Assembly with overwhelming support! The policy will require children’s product makers to disclose and phase out toxic chemicals in children’s products. As children are often the most susceptible to the health risks associated with toxic chemicals, this is a critical step to protecting vulnerable populations. We <3 New York. 

In Colorado, the Senate just passed a ban on PFAS in firefighting foam on a 34-1 vote. The bi-partisan policy is now on the Governor’s desk. By banning the sale of PFAS firefighting foam and the use of PFAS foam in training exercises, the policy will protect both firefighters, who deal with foam the most, and local communities, whose water and environments are often contaminated by the release of PFAS containing foam. Way to go CO!

In Vermont, a policy that would set Maximum Contaminant Levels for 5 PFAS in drinking water, require water systems to test for PFAS, and gives new authority to the Agency of Natural Resources to require testing and impose permit conditions for emerging contaminants is now awaiting Governor signature. Safe drinking water is threatened by chemical contaminants like PFAS and policy like this will fill important data gaps and help ensure access to cleaner water for all citizens. Great work in VT!

These are just a few of the amazing, precedent-setting, protective policies in play in 2019. Advocates in other states around the country are still working hard to secure protections and we hope to have more good news for you soon. For now, join us in celebrating this momentum!

To see the full list of 2019 state toxic chemical policy, please visit http://www.saferstates.org/bill-tracker

turn off the tap
Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash