Toxic Chemicals

From before we are born until the time we die, we are repeatedly and regularly exposed to toxic chemicals with the potential to seriously harm our health. Toxic chemicals can be found in our homes, schools and workplaces – in products we use on a daily basis. We're fighting at local, state, and federal levels to fix our chemical laws and find safer alternatives to the chemicals in everyday products.

Beakers. Photo credit: Africa Studios / Shutterstock

PFASs Chemicals – Protecting Our Drinking Water And Our Health

PFASs are a class of human-made chemicals which includes Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances These chemicals are very long-lived, which means that they remain in the environment and in humans and wildlife for a very long time. Two of these chemicals, PFOA and PFOS are relatively well known, and manufacturers have voluntarily stopped producing them. However, PFOA and PFAS continue to be detected at contaminated sites, in water, and in our bodies.

Recent Actions

Expand PFAS Monitoring to Protect Californians

PFAS are a family of approximately 4700 human-made chemicals that are incredibly effective at combating oil fires as well as repelling grease, water, and stains.

Tell Your Legislator to Protect the health of Children and Firefighters!

Minnesota has made progress in getting some of the most toxic flame retardants out of our furniture and children’s products, but our work isn’t done. Other dangerous flame retardant chemicals still lurk in our households.

Tell the State Water Board to Protect CA Drinking Water From PFAS

 Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a family of approximately 4700 synthetic chemicals used in a wide array of products and industrial processes, including non-stick cookware, clothing, carpets, and industrial

Press Releases

February 14, 2019

On February 14th, 2019, the EPA announced its “PFAS Action Plan” which follows up on four commitments announced in May but misses numerous opportunities to use EPA authority to address PFAS chemica

BOSTON—Today environmental, public health and worker advocates blasted Governor Charlie Baker for running out the clock on a much watched bill to protect children and firefighters from exposure to toxic flame retardants.  Baker’s failure to sign the bill amounts to an automatic veto.

Toxic Chemicals Blog Posts

nonstick pan with an egg in it
April 10, 2019

They’re in stain resistant carpets and clothing, cookware, some cosmetics, outdoor gear, and even dental floss. You may know them as Teflon®, or Scotchguard®. You have them in your body and they’ve been detected in 455 California drinking water sources thus far. I’m talking about a class of fluorinated chemicals, called PFAS, and they threaten California’s water and its people. Why haven’t we done more about them?

It's time for TJX to get rid of toxics
April 7, 2019

Spring is finally here! It’s my favorite time of year, despite the unpredictable Massachusetts weather. Spring means greening foliage and blooming flowers. It also means shopping for all things spring -- and the first place I head to is Marshalls, or T.J. Maxx.  These stores have great deals and a large selection. As a customer, neighbor (the parent company TJX is headquartered in Massachusetts), and activist I want to be able to say “and its wide collection of safe and non-toxic products” —but I can’t.

Jim Baudy from WGBH at Simmons
March 19, 2019

I’ve learned a lot about the dangers of exposure to toxic chemicals through flame retardants at Clean Water Action. They’re everywhere in our homes: in mattresses, furniture, even children’s toys.

This is a really important issue to be aware of, but there is a real lack of awareness amongst my fellow college students.