REI announces it will ban PFAS in all textiles

New dedication follows nationwide marketing campaign and state regulatory actions

Advocates urge REI to be certain substitutes are safer and phone on Dick’s Sporting Items to join REI in banning PFAS “forever chemicals”

SEATTLE, WA—Yesterday, primary out of doors retailer REI declared it will ban PFAS “forever chemicals” (for each- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in all textile merchandise and cookware from its suppliers, in a main update to its “Product Affect Standards” for its 1,000+ brand name companions. REI’s limits just take impact in the drop of 2024 for cookware and textile items together with, but not constrained to, attire, extras, footwear, packs, and bags. REI has granted a for a longer time timeline for qualified, expedition-amount apparel to drop of 2026.

REI’s new policy determination comes far more than a 12 months right after the start of the nationwide marketplace campaign, REI, time to “opt-out” of PFAS, led by the Mind the Retail store application of Poisonous-No cost Upcoming in partnership with Safer States and other companies. During the nationwide campaign, hundreds of people today and businesses urged Seattle-based REI to ban PFAS in merchandise it sells, by means of letters, petitions, rallies, and social media. Harmful-Absolutely free Future published an primary review, Poisonous Convenience, in January 2022, revealing PFAS in non-public-label and manufacturer name apparel sold at REI and other suppliers. Final fall, REI associates and advocates in extra than 20 towns rallied and sent petitions signed by more than 130,000 folks to REI stores nationwide, demanding the enterprise ban PFAS in the merchandise it sells. Because then, petition signatures have grown to extra than 155,000. Although REI dealt with PFAS by means of a statement released in September, the corporation did not set a timeline to ban these poisonous “forever chemicals”—until now.

REI’s announcement also arrives following quite a few states have taken regulatory action on PFAS in apparel and cookware. California, Colorado, Maine, New York, Maine, and Washington have taken measures to regulate PFAS in clothing and cookware by restrictions, labeling, or disclosure. A lot more condition action is pending.

REI’s new plan will come at a time when the output and disposal of PFAS have impacted the consuming h2o of communities across the U.S. and entire world, this sort of as at Chemours’ plant in Fayetteville, NC and Daikin’s PFAS facility in Decatur, AL. In spite of condition bans and important market place shifts away from PFAS, Chemours has proposed to expand its PFAS manufacturing in North Carolina. In the meantime, 3M recently declared a worldwide phase-out of PFAS manufacturing.

In response to REI’s announcement, the adhering to statements were manufactured:

“We are so pleased that REI has finally listened to its associates. No one’s drinking h2o should be polluted for a raincoat,” explained Mike Schade, director of Brain the Shop, a software of Toxic-Absolutely free Potential. “Our nationwide marketing campaign efforts aided make all the big difference. REI’s motivation will have nationwide impacts by guarding a lot more men and women from harmful chemicals and by driving ripple results in the market. REI must consider the next move and operate with its model partners to ensure the substitutes are definitely safer for people today and the planet. And, other stores, like Dick’s Sporting Merchandise, ought to immediately follow go well with.”

“REI’s motion sends a obvious sign to all clothing firms that PFAS are just way too unsafe to be utilized on our outfits,” mentioned Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Harmful-Totally free Upcoming. “With this selection, this sustainability-minded corporation is receiving out in advance of regulation. REI ought to make absolutely sure these persistent, toxic chemicals are replaced with safer options by requiring entire component disclosure and assessment for dangers. We are proud that our hometown co-op is leading the way, and glance forward to doing the job with REI to established a new bar for safety.”

“This instant has been many years in the building,” said Cindy Luppi, New England Cleanse Drinking water Motion Director and Safer States Steering Committee member. “Thousands of grassroots voices and REI members, as effectively as state legislatures throughout the region, have referred to as for management in replacing PFAS with safer solutions. We thank REI for showing how feasible this action is and hope it encourages several extra to move up and better defend our health from ‘forever substances.’”

“Prayers have been answered that the permanently chemicals will no lengthier be utilised by REI and its suppliers for clothes and other textiles,” claimed Brenda Hampton, founder of Anxious Citizens of WMEL Water Authority, a grassroots business doing the job to thoroughly clean up PFAS ingesting drinking water contamination from Daikin and 3M all around Decatur, AL.

“Living nicely outdoor ought to never come with a dose of toxic chemical substances, or at the cost of anyone else, “ explained Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Worry, a grassroots firm doing the job to restore and shield the air, soil, drinking water, and food items offer from PFAS contamination around Chemours in NC.  “Communities like mine have earned defense from continued PFAS exposures. Thank you, REI, for residing up to your values, listening to your shoppers, and demanding a sector shift.”

ABOUT THE Nationwide Campaign: “REI, TIME TO Opt-OUT OF PFAS!”

Led by Harmful-Free Future’s Brain the Shop system in partnership with Safer States, the national campaign urging REI and other stores to ban PFAS in outside apparel and other textiles launched in September 2021.

The campaign started with a letter to REI’s CEO, which received no official reaction. Pursuing the letter, advocates released online petitions to REI in November of 2021. In December 2021, a team of additional than 100 neighborhood, point out, and countrywide companies despatched a letter to REI’s CEO Eric Artz contacting on the company to lead the outdoor attire business in a daring changeover absent from the complete class of PFAS. In the early wintertime of 2021, advocates launched social media campaigns and held in-person actions outside REI stores across the region including Anchorage, Miami, New York, Raleigh, and Seattle even though handing out leaflets to REI customers.

The marketing campaign continued in the course of 2022, leading up to and following the company’s once-a-year member meeting. In early 2022, Toxic-Totally free Foreseeable future unveiled a examine  that observed PFAS in most stain- and drinking water-resistant products—including objects acquired at REI and other retailers. In April, REI obtained a failing ‘F’ grade in a nationwide scorecard ranking PFAS plan commitments throughout dozens of merchants printed by NRDC, Trend FWD, and U.S. PIRG Education and learning Fund.

In March, in REI’s property point out of Washington, Governor Inslee signed a bill into law (HB 1694) that tackles PFAS “forever chemicals” in a wide selection of solutions, together with attire, on the quickest timeline in the nation, by 2025.

When REI invited thoughts to be submitted for its annual conference, REI users spoke out on the co-op’s concept board demanding motion on PFAS—totaling a lot more than 90{5e37bb13eee9fcae577c356a6edbd948fa817adb745f8ff03ff00bd2962a045d} of all feedback. At the meeting in Might 2022, REI leadership resolved the concern, but failed to commit to phasing out PFAS.

Subsequent the member assembly, advocates and REI members took to the streets in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maine, delivering postcards and petitions to REI retail store supervisors signed by thousands of REI members. The in-individual steps culminated with a national week of action in September, with in-person steps getting location in 22 cities in 18 states from September 19-25, 2022. Petition signatures totaling extra than 130,000 ended up delivered at REI’s flagship retailers in both New York Town and Seattle in collaboration with companies such as the JustGreen Partnership.

The marketing campaign continued in the months that adopted, featuring investigation on the constraints of third-occasion certifications and the will need for REI to act in 2023, specifically in gentle of legislation signed by the Governors of California and New York.

As a result of the study course of the campaign, far more than 155,000 on the net e-mails or petitions have been generated to REI by companions including Beyond Plastics, Breast Most cancers Prevention Associates, Improve.org, Clean up Drinking water Motion, Client Reviews, Defend Our Health and fitness, League of Conservation Voters, North Carolina Conservation Network, Mom and dad With each other, Safer States, Poisonous-Totally free Future, and U.S. PIRG

Background ON PFAS “FOREVER CHEMICALS”

Chemical organizations offer PFAS (for every- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for software to merchandise such as paper and textiles as stain-resistant, h2o-repellent, and grease-proofing treatment plans. PFAS have been connected to major well being issues this kind of as cancer, immune procedure suppression, greater cholesterol stages, pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver hurt, lowered fertility, and enhanced hazard of thyroid disorder. PFAS are acknowledged as “forever” chemical compounds because they persist and really do not split down in the environment.

Final yr, Toxic-Free of charge Long run released a analyze that identified PFAS in most products and solutions labeled stain- and water-resistant, with 72{5e37bb13eee9fcae577c356a6edbd948fa817adb745f8ff03ff00bd2962a045d} testing optimistic for PFAS—including goods from REI, Amazon, and many others. A 2021 peer-reviewed study led by scientists at Harmful-Absolutely free Potential (TFF), the University of Washington, and Indiana College observed PFAS in 100{5e37bb13eee9fcae577c356a6edbd948fa817adb745f8ff03ff00bd2962a045d} of breast milk samples tested and that more recent PFAS build up in folks. Harmful-Free Future’s investigative report discovered that a PFAS production facility is a major supply of both of those PFAS pollution and ozone-depleting chemical compounds that contribute to wellbeing troubles and climate transform.

Point out governments are having legislative and regulatory actions to phase out PFAS in items to avert contamination in favor of safer choices. For illustration, rules in ME and WA have specified state agencies authority to ban PFAS in a large array of items. Maine’s regulation needs products manufacturers to disclose the existence of PFAS. Quite a few states have adopted restrictions on PFAS in textiles with CA banning PFAS in just about all textiles by 2025, NY proscribing them in apparel, CO banning them in upholstered furnishings, and WA relocating ahead on regulatory steps on a lot of categories of textile solutions. 5 states (CA, CO, ME, MD, VT) have adopted limitations on PFAS in carpets, rugs and aftermarket remedies. Eleven states (CA, CO, CT, Hi, MD, ME, MN, NY, RI, VT, and WA) have enacted state bans on PFAS in foodstuff packaging. CO also adopted restrictions on oil and gasoline products and solutions and individual care products and solutions. Eleven states which include CA, CO, CT, Hello, IL, ME, MD, NH, NY, VT, and WA have place in spot bans on the sale of firefighting foam that contains PFAS. With laws adopted previous 12 months, WA is analyzing safer choices for PFAS in other solutions this sort of as apparel, cleaners, coatings and ground finishes, firefighter turnout equipment and some others with a timeline of adopting restrictions by 2025.

Vendors are progressively adopting safer chemical compounds procedures to eliminate PFAS in essential merchandise sectors, according to the Retailer Report Card. Numerous outdoor and textiles makes have declared guidelines to minimize and do away with PFAS. Patagonia has pledged to eliminate all PFAS throughout its complete merchandise line by 2024. In July 2022, Columbia fully commited to a target of phasing out PFAS by the conclusion of 2024. In 2021, Polartec introduced it was reducing PFAS in its DWR (sturdy h2o repellent) treatments across its line of general performance materials. Lowe’s and The Home Depot are no for a longer period promoting indoor household carpets or rugs with PFAS, and Lowe’s also dedicated to cease promoting fabric defense sprays with PFAS. Now, around 30 special retail chains with much more than 150,000 shops and much more than $654 billion in product sales have committed to eradicating or lowering PFAS in foodstuff packaging, textiles, and/or other goods.

Toxic-Free of charge Future

Harmful-Cost-free Upcoming (TFF) is a national chief in environmental well being investigate and advocacy. Through the ability of science, education and learning, and activism, Poisonous-Free Foreseeable future drives sturdy legal guidelines and company responsibility that shields the wellness of all people today and the planet.

SAFER STATES

Safer States is an alliance of various environmental well being businesses and coalitions from across the nation committed to developing a more healthy environment. By harnessing location-based electrical power, the alliance is effective to safeguard men and women and the earth from harmful chemicals and sparks progressive methods for a much more sustainable long run.

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