Environmental Health & Safety

Washington Governor Inslee Signs Bill Targeting Toxic Pollution

By Chemical Processing Staff

May 10, 2019

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signs new legislation protecting people and orcas from toxic chemical pollution. After the law is signed, Washington will have the nation’s strongest policy regulating toxic chemicals in products, a major source of harmful chemicals in our homes and environment, according to nonprofit organization Toxic-Free Future. The new law reportedly prioritizes five chemical classes for action: PFAS, organohalogen flame retardants, phthalates, alkylphenol ethoxylates and bisphenols, and PCBs.

The Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act (SB 5135) gives state agencies the authority to ban chemicals and require disclosure of harmful chemicals in a wide range of products from carpets and personal care products to electronics and building materials. The law addresses classes of chemicals that pose a health threat to sensitive populations, like pregnant women and children, and sensitive species like the endangered southern resident orcas and their prey, Chinook salmon.

“This landmark legislation gives Washington state agencies the authority they need to turn off the tap on toxic pollution that comes from products, whether it’s persistent PFAS in carpet or toxic flame retardants in televisions,” says Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Toxic-Free Future. “Washington state is leading the nation with this new law that tackles classes of chemicals, like PFAS, ending the chemical by chemical approach that does not solve the problem.”

Scientists have documented that chemicals escape out of products into dust and air in homes, travel through wastewater and pollute the environment. The pollution from products is largely unregulated and is why levels of some contaminants, such as plasticizing chemicals called phthalates, continue to contaminate Puget Sound despite years of cleanup, according to Toxic-Free Future. Costs of cleanup and health impacts are significant for governments, taxpayers and businesses.

For more information, visit: www.toxicfreefuture.org