The children of our state and our iconic southern resident orcas face a common threat: toxic chemicals in consumer products used in our homes, schools, and workplaces. Everyday products like televisions, carpeting, shampoos, detergents, and others contain toxic chemicals that show up in the waters and salmon that orcas rely on. These unhealthy toxic chemicals escape into the air and water and harm humans too. Young children are especially at risk when these toxic chemicals show up in breastmilk.
On Monday, the House passed companion legislation to a bill introduced by Rep. Beth Doglio to tackle this problem. SB 5135, the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act, is the bold action we need to protect vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women, and sensitive species like orcas.
“We all want to make sure our environment is free from chemicals that harm our bodies, our children, and the wildlife around us. This bill sets up a process to stop contamination of chemicals before they become significant and harmful problems for our communities.”
Key features of the bill include:
- Prioritizes for action five classes of chemicals in consumer products that are polluting our homes and threatening orcas, including phthalates, PFAS, toxic flame retardants, phenolic compounds, and PCBs.
- Directs the Department of Ecology to identify the largest sources of the chemicals in products and to take action to reduce the sources.
- Directs Ecology to prioritize the next classes of chemicals every five years after recommendations on the first round priority chemicals and products are finalized.
By stopping the use of harmful chemicals in consumer products and manufacturing, we can stop the toxic treadmill of cleaning up pollution, re-polluting, and polluting again. Cleaning up pollution is much more expensive than prevention. We may never be able to fully clean up this pollution decades later, so we must act now to cut off the source of pollutants.
The bill now goes back to the Senate for final approval.