Legislative Update: The end of session, concerns about initiatives and getting lead out of cookware.

Friends and neighbors, 

The 2024 legislative session is drawing to a close tomorrow. We have taken action on numerous important issues, including housing, the fentanyl and opioid crisis, climate change, education, representation in government, poverty reduction, and transportation. We have had multiple opportunities for people to engage in the process. 

Thank you for your continued engagement and I look forward to talking with you back in district after the session finishes. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on some of the initiatives before the legislature and celebrate another step forward in protecting people from lead poisoning. 

My concerns about the initiatives before the legislature. 

On Monday, the legislature passed three initiatives dealing with parental rights, prohibiting an income tax, and police pursuits. I had reservations about all of these. Having spent years working on improving education and serving on the Education Committee, I felt an obligation to speak about the ramifications of the so-called parental rights bill. In my latest video, I talk about my concerns with this initiative and the three initiatives we aren’t taking action on this session. 

Protecting people from lead poisoning.

I have long fought to protect people from lead poisoning and contamination, including as a UW School of Public Health faculty member. Recently, the Seattle/King County Public Health and Hazardous Waste Program found that more than 40% of some immigrant children had high levels of lead in their bodies – enough to lower children’s IQ and cause other major health effects. This contamination was especially prevalent in the Afghan immigrant community. These instances of poisoning were traced to pots, pans and pressure cookers sold with extremely high levels of lead.  Unfortunately, these products continue to be widely marketed to families in Washington. 

Let’s be clear, there are no safe levels of lead in food or water. Families should be able to enjoy a meal without the worry that their cookware is poisoning them. Lead poisoning has profound and often irreversible effects, and we need to do everything we can to eliminate lead in cookware, plumbing, drinking water, and any other ways it can get into our bodies. 

Fortunately, the legislature has sent House Bill 1551 to the governor’s desk. I introduced this bill to prohibit the manufacture, distribution and sale of cookware containing lead levels over 5 parts per million (ppm). There will also be a new program to test cookware for lead.  Finally, it creates a fine structure, so manufacturers are held accountable. 


Thank you for your engagement and time. I will continue to fight for public health, public transparency, and public education. I look forward to meeting with you back in district. Email me to join me for a drop-in discussion on Saturday mornings or to join you at a community or PTA meeting.  

Thanks again, 

Rep. Gerry Pollet