Clean Water Action is part of a coalition effort with Toxic-Free Future to tell the outdoor apparel retailer REI to stop selling products containing toxic PFAS in their stores. Thousands of REI shoppers and co-op members have already submitted comments and letters, but we need to keep the pressure on!
What are PFAS? PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of human-made chemicals that are incredibly persistent in the environment and also highly toxic. PFAS have been linked to cancers, reproductive problems, weakened immune systems, and other health problems.
Why REI? Because PFAS can make textiles and fabrics water resistant, they are used in lots of outdoor gear from raincoats to hiking pants to boots. These outdoor products leave a toxic trail of pollution. Manufacturing a product like a jacket can pollute the drinking water around factories, which can often be located in low-income communities and communities of color. Then, retail workers can be exposed to PFAS in the store’s air, and consumers (and the environment) can be exposed during use. Finally, when the product is thrown out, it can pollute the community around the landfill or incinerator where it ends up.
Some outdoor apparel companies, like Patagonia, are moving away from PFAS due to the harm they cause to humans and the environment. REI is one of the largest retailers of outdoor gear, and they have a stated commitment to protecting the environment, but they still don’t have a plan to ban PFAS. We need them to lead by example by banning PFAS from the products sold in REI stores.
Want to read more? Check out these blog posts!
- Hi! I’m a Dog Who Wants the Humans at REI to Ban PFAS!
- I Shouldn’t Have to Worry About Toxic Chemicals in My Son’s Raincoat