Protecting Our Health from Toxic Chemicals

Toxic chemicals surround us—in our air, water, homes, and workplaces. Many chemicals used in everyday products, like plastics, cosmetics, toys,  and furniture, increase the risk of serious illnesses.

Clean Water Action is working to reduce toxic chemicals in our homes, workplaces and communities. This year, we are asking Massachusetts authorities to:

In 2020-2021, Clean Water Action coordinated a state-wide effort to get Massachusetts leaders to address PFAS, a set of chemicals that have contaminated water, soil, and air throughout our state. Clean Water Action successfully got strong recommendations into the state’s PFAS Interagency Task Force report. The Massachusetts Attorney General filed a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers, and Massachusetts added PFAS to the state’s list of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals.

In the 2021-22 Massachusetts legislative session, Clean Water Action supported four bills to eliminate PFAS from consumer products such as food packaging, clothing, personal care products, and fire fighting gear.  These bills garnered significant support but were not passed into law. However, Massachusetts legislators have announced that they are likely to file a comprehensive PFAS bill /bills in 2023.   CWA is committed to working with the Legislature to make sure that the strongest possible bills are introduced in January 2023, with prompt action by the Legislature.

In 2021, Clean Water Action won a big victory when the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law banning 11 dangerous flame retardants and giving the state the authority to restrict the use of additional flame retardants. 

Learn more about PFAS here.

MA_Toxic Chemicals_Watertown figherfighters_photo by Miranda.jpg

Protecting our Health from Toxic Chemicals

Every day, we are exposed to toxic chemicals in food, water, the environment, and consumer products. While most Americans assume that products must be tested for safety before they are put on store shelves, many of the items in stores and our homes contain chemicals known to be toxic. Many more chemicals in everyday use have never been tested for safety. Cleaning agents, personal care products, household furniture, food packaging, and children’s toys all contain chemicals of concern.

    Toxic Hall of Shame Mind the Store 2021

    Mind the Store

    Toxic chemicals are in a wide array of consumer products: food, packaging, clothing, sporting goods, toys, electronics, furniture, personal care products, and cleaners, among many others.

    Toxic Hot Seat

    Flame Retardants

    Flame retardant chemicals have been linked to cancer, learning and developmental disabilities in children and many more health issues.

    Under the wire: Mass. legislature sends bill to Governor’s desk that will protect children and firefighters from toxic flame retardants

    “This is a huge new year’s gift to all Massachusetts families and in particular firefighters,” said Elizabeth Saunders, Massachusetts Director for Clean Water Action and board member of the Alliance. “These chemicals have been putting our children and firefighters at risk for decades and it’s high time that they are removed from the products that we bring into our homes. We’re counting on Governor Baker to join the legislature in prioritizing protection for our most vulnerable by signing this bill into law.”

    From We All Live Downstream

    PFAS chemicals  - toxic free future - rei campaign  image of polar bear on ice
    May 25, 2022

    While 21.5 million members have trusted REI’s products, recent testing identified PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals in popular REI brand-name jackets, including chemicals banned for manufacture in the United States and European Union!

    National - REI Blog - Michelle Beaudin REI Coop
    May 16, 2022

    On May 16th, REI will hold its annual member meeting, where leadership will address the co-op in a presentation on its 2023 goals. This is an opportunity for co-op members and other outdoor apparel shoppers to have their voices heard. Send a message to REI today!

    Tell congress to ban pfas in food packaging image
    April 8, 2022

    In a major victory for Clean Water Action and the Mind the Store campaign, Burger King has announced a ban on toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in their food packaging by 2025.