Dear REI: Hiking & PFAS Chemicals Don't Belong Together
I just gotta say, I've been shopping at REI for about six years, I love your equipment and the folks who work at your stores are extremely helpful.
I'm writing about PFAS chemicals used in outdoor gear. This stuff is... well, to call it crap would be polite. And the ironic thing is I've used your gear to go to places of amazing beauty and purity.
I am closing in on hiking the Appalachian Trail, either in one go or by sections. I'll probably spend a significant chunk of change to outfit a trip like this. I'd like to gear up at your stores (see first paragraph). But PFAS is nasty stuff, and I've got to keep gear that has PFAS in it away from me. In order to spend my future dollars your way, I'll need to see REI take meaningful steps to take this stuff out of equipment I'll need to use and wear.
I understand you have an REI Board meeting coming up, please make this a priority. In Connecticut, Clean Water Action has been banging this drum for years, and check out this blog post for a plan to help eliminate PFAS exposure. You can also contact REI directly here.
Andy Bauer, Clean Water Action Board Member
Andy Bauer became a citizen activist in 2000 with the statewide Campaign to Clean up the “Sooty Six” power plants in CT. In 2005 he founded and continues to Chair the Portland Clean Energy Task Force. He believes that aggressively deploying clean energy and energy efficiency technologies can blunt the threat that climate change presents to future generations. Andy has spent thousands of hours helping people realize that clean & efficient energy options deliver multiple benefits. In 2014 he was honored by his hometown with a Ralph Paley ‘Spirit of Portland’ award for volunteerism. When not saving the planet, he relaxes by taking long walks with his wife Joanna, kayaking, producing public service videos, glissading, farming, and teaching Middle School.