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On National Teflon Day, States Must Say NO WAY

Teflon was marketed as the miracle chemical. It could make pans non-stick, carpets stain- resistant, and jackets waterproof. In fact, the chemical was thought to be so amazing that someone decided we needed to celebrate it every year on April 6th for National Teflon Day.

But the truth is that Teflon should be anything but celebrated. The chemicals used to make Teflon and related products make our water undrinkable, our bodies sick, and our environment polluted. And governments need to do something about it.

Drinking water for more than 15 million Americans is contaminated with toxic nonstick chemicals called per- and poly- fluorinated chemicals (PFASs). This contamination may have come from the production of Teflon or similar products or from the use of these chemicals in firefighting foams at airports, military bases, and fire training facilities.

PFASs are used in a wide variety of products with non-stick and stain-resistant coatings including food packaging and stainproof carpets. They are also used in firefighting foam that firefighters use to put out certain fires.

These chemicals aren’t good for our health and are linked to cancer and other health problems. They also don’t break down when then get into our bodies or the environment, staying with us for years and years.

It didn’t have to be this way. Documents from chemical manufacturers uncovered in a recent lawsuit prove that these companies knew chemicals were harmful decades ago. But they continued to make them and put them on the market to pollute us and our communities. This is unacceptable.

A growing number of states are starting to step up to the plate to eliminate these chemicals from our environment and our products. Washington state just took two huge steps forward to restrict the use of PFASs in food packaging and firefighting foam. These bans are good first steps to stopping the flow of these harmful chemicals into our communities and waterways and moving companies to use safer alternatives. But more states must follow to prevent further contamination.

Prevention is just one part of the solution. Taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for what could amount to billions of dollars in clean up and health costs. Communities with contaminated drinking water still face huge costs to deliver what many of us take for granted – safe drinking water. Firefighters, whose leading cause of death is cancer, face rising health costs. This is unacceptable.

States must demand that the polluters who created this mess pay to clean it up.
It’s time to hold the chemical makers accountable and make them pay to clean up PFAS contamination.

Americans deserve clean water and a healthy environment. Firefighters deserve tools that won’t make them sick. On National Teflon Day, it’s time states said NO WAY.

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