Safer States is at the forefront of a state-driven national movement to combat exposures to PFAS chemicals. We coordinate a large and diverse coalition of advocates, policymakers, scientists, and representatives from the most impacted communities to influence public policy, corporate practices, and end-of-life management decisions on products containing these deadly chemicals. Our goal is to turn off the tap on over 3,000 chemicals in this class and ensure safe drinking water for all.
20 adopted policies in 10 states
- Current Policies
- Adopted Policies
What Are They?
Highly fluorinated chemicals, or PFAS, are prized by manufacturers for their grease- and water-proofing properties, and the chemical industry is constantly searching for new applications. While convenient, PFAS exposure causes liver and kidney cancer, decreased fertility, increase incidents of thyroid problems, and decrease immune response to vaccines in children.
Residents of the Ohio River Valley in West Virginia were systematically exposed to PFAS for several decades through intentional dumping of chemicals by DuPont while the company had knowledge of the health risks. Similar stories play out across the nation, such as 3M’s pollution of drinking water in Minnesota and high incidences of cancer resulting from fouled water in Hoosick Falls, NY.
States are often left bearing the brunt of costs for PFAS clean-up. For a run-down of those costs, please visit nonsticknightmare.org.
We Eat Them
PFAS chemicals are extremely pervasive, appearing in the blood of 95% of people in the United States. One of the first avenues of PFAS exposure came from Teflon pans. PFAS now appears in produce grown in contaminated soil and is also widely used in food packaging as a grease-proofing agent. Hot food in takeout containers or fast food wrappers triggers the rapid release of PFAS chemicals and they leach into our food and our bodies.
We Drink Them
It is estimated that nearly one-third of Americans are drinking water that has been contaminated with PFAS, a number that is expected to rise as more drinking water systems are tested. Water is polluted through the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS, poor manufacturing practices, and from the repeated washing of clothing treated with PFAS.
We Breathe Them
PFAS are highly mobile. Walking on carpet containing PFAS or wearing treated clothing causes PFAS to become airborne and settle in dust which we then breathe.
What More is Needed
Our campaign has a number of recommendations for the federal government as well as actions that states and localities can take today to eliminate PFAS from our products and clean up existing pollution. Additionally, retailers and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are free from PFAS. Read more here.
Drinking Water Limits
Several states have adopted or proposed health guidelines or Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFAS in their state. States with adopted limits include CA, CT, CO, MN, NC, NH, NJ, and VT; and states with proposed limits include IL, MA, MI, and NY.
Some states have sued the manufacturers of PFAS chemicals for contaminating water supplies and other natural resources. These include MI, MN (settled), NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, and VT. We anticipate these lawsuits to become more numerous as PFAS damages continue to crop up. In fact, most of these lawsuits are recent as 6 of them were filed in 2019 or 2020.