Problem: PFAS is everywhere
Polyfluoroalkyl substances are a class of over 9000 chemicals used to make products stainproof, water resistant, and stick proof. PFAS are in a wide array of consumer products, including firefighting foam, food packaging, carpets, clothing, pesticides, artificial turf, cleaners, waxes, building materials, paints, and personal care products.
All PFAS have a fluorine atom bonded to a chlorine. This is one of the strongest bonds in nature — and, as a result, PFAS chemicals are extraordinarily persistent. They never fully break down, remaining in the environment for tens of thousands of years. PFAS are bio-accumulative, which means as we continue to make and use PFAS, they continue to build up in our bodies and wildlife.
What are the health impacts?
PFAS cause immunosuppression, reduced response to vaccines, liver disease, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and preeclampsia. Some have also been linked to endocrine disruption, neurodevelopmental toxicity, and reproductive toxicity. Ninety-seven percent of Americans tested have PFAS in their blood. PFAS has been found in fish, shellfish, and dairy cows.
How are we exposed?
People are exposed by drinking water that has been contaminated, eating contaminated food, and using products with PFAS. PFAS in products escapes into air and dust, which we breathe in. When products are disposed in trash or compost, PFAS remains, entering soil, groundwater and drinking water.
Massachusetts needs to ban PFAS in most products. We also need to clean up contamination, figure out how to safely dispose of PFAS, and support people and communities that have been most contaminated. These bills are a first step to prohibit the unnecessary and harmful use of PFAS.
- An Act restricting toxic PFAS chemicals in consumer products to protect our health (H2350, S1387) (Representative Jack Lewis & Senator Jo Comerford)Bans toxic PFAS from carpets, rugs, and furniture textiles, and from aftermarket sprays applied to these products. It also bans PFAS in personal care products and cookware.
- An Act Providing for the Public Health by establishing an ecologically based mosquito management program in the Commonwealth (H937, S556) (Representative Tami Gouveia & Senator Adam Hinds) Prohibits Massachusetts from using pesticides with PFAS in the state’s mosquito control program
- An Act relative to the reduction of certain toxic chemicals in firefighter personal protective equipment (H2475, S1576) (Representative James Hawkins & Senator Diana DiZoglio) Requires manufacturers of firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) to inform purchasers if their products contains PFAS. Effective January 1, 2025, this bill bans the manufacture or sale of firefighting personal protective equipment with PFAS.
What you can do:
- Get the name and contact information of your state representative and senator at: https://malegislature.gov/StateHouse/Contact
- Send your legislator a personal email asking them to cosponsor these bills. Add 1-2 sentence about why this issue matters to you.
- Join the Healthy Tomorrow action list for updates as the PFAS campaign develops.