With the Trump EPA rolling back environmental protections, states are taking the lead to protect their residents from harmful chemicals, particularly PFAS chemicals. Last year, the state of Washington passed restrictions on PFAS in food packaging and firefighting foam and this year, at least 13 states are considering similar legislation. These actions come in the wake of serious failures by the EPA to protect drinking water or provide meaningful action that would warn communities about exposure or provide adequate funding for cleanup.

“As the Federal EPA falters and drags its feet, states are on the front line of protecting citizens from toxic chemicals by enacting strong policies” said Sarah Doll, National Director of Safer States. “Year after year, state policies grounded in cutting-edge science push the regulatory bar higher and create lasting, life-improving changes to the lives of people across the United States.”

The trend to eliminate flame retardants continues in this session with several states introducing measures to eliminate these harmful chemicals from furniture, children’s products, and mattresses, harmonizing with policy recently adopted in California. Others are focusing their attention on eliminating toxic flame retardants from electronics a year after the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended a similar ban and advised manufacturers find safer alternatives.

“Over half of firefighter line-of-duty deaths come from job-related cancers – not burns, smoke inhalation, or heart attacks. These high cancer rates are likely linked to firefighter exposure to ineffective, but highly toxic flame retardant chemicals,” according to Senator John Marty (MN). “Consequently Minnesota banned several of these dangerous chemicals and we are now moving to ban the use of any of these toxic chemicals in upholstered furniture, in carpeting and textiles, and in children’s products.”

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