The Clean Water Blog

Polluted Polly

PFAS: A Whopper of a Problem

Public awareness of the dangers of PFAS chemicals (polyfluoroalkyl substances) has exploded in recent years. We now know that PFAS contributes to incidence of cancer, preeclampsia, immunosuppression, and more.. It does not break down, ever, and it’s accumulating in our homes, environment, and in our bodies.  This stuff is dangerous and it is everywhere! The companies that have been using these chemicals in their products have known the dangers for decades, but kept that hidden from the public. These chemicals are in our bodies, and they can wreak havoc. We did not get a choice about that. Instead, these companies -- chemical makers like DuPont and countless companies that use PFAS in their products -- made the choice to put their profits before our health.  Compounding this is that, the few times that the public has raised the alarm and government policies forced companies to stop using one of these dangerous chemicals, the substitute is often just as bad or worse. It is a  blatant disregard for the well-being of the public, all in the name of capitalism!  

Clean Water Action and our allies are pressuring legislators for statewide bans on PFAS, and we are going directly to those industries where PFAS exposure is avoidable, like the fast food industry.  PFAS is used to repel water and keep things from sticking, so it is perfect for serving up greasy food.  That means we often end up with unhealthy food, wrapped in toxic containers. McDonald’s, Burger King, and so many others serve hundreds of millions of people a day, across the world. That's why Mind the Store's campaign to ban PFAS in their products and packaging is so important.  By mobilizing consumer pressure and partnering with groups like Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families, Clean Water Action, and others, the Mind-The-Store-Campaign has convinced many of the nation’s leading retailers to address PFAS use in their food packaging and products.  

So far, the following companies have made commitments to reduce use or to do away with PFAS entirely:  

  • Ahold Delhaize (parent company of Stop and Shop)
  • Albertsons (parent company of Star Market and Shaw’s)
  • Amazon
  • Cava
  • Chipotle
  • Freshii
  • McDonalds
  • Panera Bread
  • Sweetgreen
  • Trader Joes
  • Wendy’s
  • Whole Foods Market  

Burger King seems poised to join this list next according to statements from CEO Jose Cils at the last shareholder meeting. We know that Burger King can do this  -- so many of their competitors have taken this step. We want to encourage Burger King to announce its own plan this year.  That is where polluted Polly comes in…

Polluted Polly Applies PFAS Pressure

Polluted Polly is a dedicated activist trashcan committed to protecting people, communities, and the environment from toxic PFAS chemicals that can leach out of packaging and last forever, polluting our drinking water, food, air, and soil.  Traveling from state-to-state, working to hit a threshold for change, Polluted Polly has recently been spotted in Western Massachusetts.  She made a scene at Burger King in Northampton to clearly express that under no circumstances is she okay with ingesting PFAS chemicals!!  

On her tour through Massachusetts, Polly also met with Senators Jo Comerford, and Michael Moore  who are both sponsoring Massachusetts legislation that bans toxic PFAS from consumer products. The Comerford bill bans PFAS in car seats, carpets, rugs, textiles, aftermarket sprays applied to these products ,personal care products, and cookware ( H.2350/S.1387) while the Moore bill bans PFAS in food packaging (H.2348/S.1494). Representative Jack Lewis is the House sponsor for both bills. Clean Water Action thanks all of our bold and determined elected officials who are making a stance on this issue! The harm caused by PFAS chemicals is a widespread condition, but thanks to activists like Polluted Polly, legislators like Jo Comerford, and support from you, it will not be a tradition! Take action here to prohibit the use of PFAS, clean up existing contamination, and hold manufacturers accountable for the mess they made.