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Press Statement

Michigan Governor commits to limit purchase of products that contain PFAS

Michigan is the first state in the nation to broadly limit “forever chemicals” through its purchasing budget

Health advocates applaud the move and anticipate more states to take action

PORTLAND, OR⸺Today, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive telling the state to “use its purchasing power—an estimated $2.5 billion annually” to buy products that do not contain PFAS chemicals. While other states have product-specific PFAS procurement restrictions, Michigan’s new policy goes further by looking across all purchases by the state. Health advocacy organizations from Michigan and across the nation applaud this move and anticipate more states to take action.

In response to this news, Michigan-based nonprofit Ecology Center and national coalition Safer States released the following statements.

“Nearly two million Michigan residents have PFAS in their drinking water. Governor Whitmer’s bold action today will go far to prevent even more PFAS contamination in our state,” said Rebecca Meuninck deputy director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor and Detroit, MI. “Impacted community members in Michigan have been leading the charge to turn off the tap on PFAS, procurement is one of the tools that community members highlighted in their recently released Great Lakes PFAS Policy Agenda.”

“This is a bold, precedent-setting move towards protecting communities and preventing more PFAS contamination,” said Sarah Doll, national director of Safer States. “We applaud Michigan’s new policy that uses the power of their purse to help drive demand for safer materials and chemistries as well as increasing understanding of where PFAS is being used. Michigan’s leadership is part of the growing movement around the country to act upstream and prevent PFAS contamination. We expect other states to consider similar actions.”


Chemical companies sell PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for application to paper and textiles as stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing treatments. A growing body of scientific research has found links between exposures to PFAS and a wide range of health problems including a weaker immune system, cancer, increased cholesterol levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, reduced fertility, and increased risk of thyroid disease. PFAS are often referred to as “forever” chemicals because they are not known to break down in the environment and can easily move through soil to drinking water.

PFAS have become global pollutants that threaten the health of people and wildlife. A recent peer-reviewed study by Toxic-Free Future found PFAS in 100% of breast milk samples tested and that newer PFAS build up in people. And, Toxic-Free Future’s latest investigative report revealed that a PFAS manufacturing facility is a major source of both PFAS pollution and ozone-depleting chemicals that contribute to health problems and climate change.

State governments are taking legislative and regulatory actions to phase out PFAS in products to prevent contamination in favor of safer alternatives. For example, laws in ME and WA have given state agencies authority to ban PFAS in a wide range of products. CA, CT, ME, MN, NY, VT, and WA have enacted phase-outs of PFAS in food packaging. VT and ME adopted bans on PFAS in carpets, rugs, and aftermarket treatments and regulatory action is pending on these products and other home textiles (e.g. upholstery, bedding) in CA and WA. CA, CO, CT, IL, ME, NH, NY, and WA have put in place bans on the sale of firefighting foam containing PFAS.

In terms of procurement, states have issued procurement policies related to PFAS in certain product categories such as food contact materials in Connecticut, multiple procurement specifications in New York to avoid PFAS in products including food contact material, flooring and furniture, and many multi-state non-toxic purchasing agreements on product categories such as furniture have been lead by the state of Minnesota.

Federal legislation to protect communities and ban PFAS in multiple product sectors has been or is expected to be introduced.

Retailers are increasingly adopting safer chemicals policies to reduce or eliminate PFAS in key product sectors including textiles, according to the annual Retailer Report Card published by Toxic-Free Future’s Mind the Store program. Over the past two years, 18 retailers selling food or food packaging announced steps to reduce or eliminate PFAS in food packaging at their more than 77,000 stores, which includes Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons,, Cava, Chipotle, Freshii, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Sweetgreen, Trader Joe’s, Wendy’s, and Whole Foods Market.


The Ecology Center is based in Ann Arbor and Detroit Michigan and works at the local, state, and national level on climate, environmental health, and zero waste campaigns and initiatives. Our procurement staff, in partnership with Safer States, provide technical assistance and support to over 20 municipalities and states and create tools for sustainability and procurement professionals to aid them in creating and implementing their non-toxic procurement policies. These tools include our Sustainable Procurement Policies Roadmap which guides municipalities and states step by step through the creation and implementation of their policies. The tool contains a curated set of resources including model policies, specifications, guidance documents, and webinars. Earlier this year, we also unveiled our interactive training module for municipalities to use to train their staff on how to implement their sustainable purchasing policy.


Safer States is a network of diverse environmental health coalitions and organizations in states across the country that share a bold and urgent vision to protect people and communities from toxic chemical threats. By harnessing place-based power, Safer States creates innovative solutions that promote safer alternatives and helps prevent harm to people and the environment caused by dangerous chemicals. Working directly with state-based advocacy organizations, Safer States provides support and strategic guidance to advocates as well as a platform for national collaboration and coordination.



Stephanie Stohler, Safer States & Toxic-Free Future

[email protected]

Rebecca Meuninck, Ecology Center

[email protected]

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