Keeping dangerous chemicals out of our water

OLYMPIA – With a strong bipartisan vote of 63-35, the House of Representatives passed a bill today to improve the way we prevent water pollution. HB 1472 would help remove dangerous chemicals from everyday products and focus on finding safer alternatives.


“Removing potentially hazardous chemicals out of the metaphorical pipeline earlier in the process is cheaper for businesses and local governments who are tasked with cleaning up water before it is discharged in to public waterways,” said the bill’s prime sponsor Rep. Fitzgibbon. “Getting these dangerous chemicals out of our products and out of our waterways is cost-effective and protects our children and our environment.”


Efforts to address water pollution are often limited to decreasing pollution from a single source like a factory, or to clean-up efforts once pollution is already present in our waterways. The largest source of toxic pollution in Washington isn’t from a single source, but from toxic chemicals found in the everyday products we all use such as copper from brakes or metals in roofing materials. Over the last few years, testing technology has improved such that toxins like PCBs can be detected at levels that are too small to clean-up in water discharges. It makes more sense to remove these chemicals earlier in the process so water dischargers aren’t faced with standards that are impossible to meet.


HB 1472 would direct Ecology to identify chemicals found in our environment that harm humans, plants, or wildlife and determine if there are viable alternatives to these chemicals. The ultimate goal of this bill is to replace the toxic chemicals in products that we all use with safer alternatives. By taking these chemicals out products, we avoid introducing these toxins into the environment.


The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration.