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Stop Toxic PFAS

We can protect Marylanders from exposure to toxic PFAS by passing the PFAS Protection Act

Some chemicals that are found in everyday household items can pose a threat to our health, especially when they contaminate our waterways or food. One common class of chemicals, called PFAS, are used in a variety of products including some rugs, food packaging, and non-stick pans. PFAS have been linked to cancer and other severe illnesses and have been found in some of Maryland's drinking water by the Department of the Environment.

Ten states have taken strong action to restrict PFAS, but Maryland has yet to act. Maryland legislators are now considering a new law, the PFAS Protection Act, to restrict the use and prevent unsafe disposal of PFAS.

The problem with PFAS

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS, are used in a variety of consumer products such as cookware, food packaging, rugs and carpets, and waterproof clothing. They’re also used in manufacturing to make things greaseproof and water-resistant.

PFAS chemicals leach from these products, ending up in our food and water, and ultimately our bodies, which puts us at risk of cancer and other severe illnesses including hormone disruption, immune suppression, and developmental issues.

To make matters worse, PFAS have been given the nickname “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in our bodies or in the environment. The CDC has found these chemicals in the bodies of nearly every American it has tested. So the more they get used, the more they build up and the bigger the risk they pose to our health.

Maryland is no exception: The Maryland Department of the Environment found PFAS in 75% of the drinking water it tested. We also know of contamination in and around more than a dozen military sites in the state and in some seafood.

 

  • <h4>Where are PFAS?</h4><p> PFAS chemicals are used in a variety of products including<p><p>cookware, food packaging, outdoor apparel, carpets and rugs.
  • <h4>PFAS chemicals harm our health</h4><p>Exposure to PFAS in water, food and consumer products<p><p> has been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses.
  •   <h4>Toxic PFAS in our drinking water</h4><p>The Maryland Department of the Environment found<p><p> PFAS in 75% of the drinking water it tested.
  • <h4>PFAS in firefighting foam</h4><p> Firefighting foam for civilian and military use is a major source of PFAS contamination,<p><p>but safer PFAS-free foams already exist and have been adopted around the world.
  • <h4>Protect our air and water</h4><p> To protect our air and water we need to restrict the use of PFAS and <p><p>prevent mass landfilling and incineration of PFAS.
Protecting children and families from PFAS exposure

Allowing the widespread use of toxic chemicals that last forever virtually guarantees that our sources of drinking water will become contaminated and our families will be exposed. To stop these chemicals from contaminating our drinking water and our bodies, we need to eliminate the source of the contamination, which means eliminating PFAS from our products and making sure they’re disposed of properly. Ten states have taken strong action to restrict these chemicals, but Maryland is yet to act.

We can change that by passing the Maryland PFAS Protection Act, which will stop the use of PFAS in food packaging, rugs and carpets and fire fighting foam and ban the mass disposal of these chemicals by incineration and landfilling.

Restricting the use of PFAS today is a critical step in minimizing public health damage and ensuring future generations have a chance at a healthier world.

In an age of remarkable technological progress, we should be able to make food packaging, carpets and cookware without putting our drinking water and health at risk. In order to protect our communities from exposure to toxic PFAS, we need to comprehensively address PFAS contamination. We're on calling on the Maryland legislature to consider policy to:

  • Turn off the tap on new contamination by stopping the use of PFAS in food packaging, rugs and carpets, and fire fighting foam.
  • Protect our fire fighters by requiring notification for PFAS in firefighting gear.
  • Protecting our air and water by banning the mass disposal of these chemicals by incineration and landfilling.

 

Tackling PFAS contamination long term

The first step in addressing our PFAS crisis in Maryland is to stop new contamination. By adopting some of the best PFAS policies from across the country, we can reduce some of the most harmful forms of PFAS contamination while also building more awareness among state legislators, the public, and candidates for governor. Next, we’ll be working to ensure the chemical industry is held responsible for the contamination they cause, as well as to expand contamination testing and set health-protective limits for PFAS in our communities.

Ultimately, we need to stop using PFAS completely, establish strong, health-based limits for PFAS in water, and hold the chemical industry accountable for public health damage they have caused.

We also need stronger federal action on PFAS and to update our chemical regulations to ensure chemicals don’t make it to the market unless and until they are proven safe. To get there, we’ll work to build both public support and political will. Passing strong state policies will help us do both.

Protecting public health for 50 years

We know we can make a difference on this issue.

Over the past 50 years, Maryland PIRG and our national network have been leaders in protecting public health from exposure to toxic chemicals in our communities and drinking water. 

We’ve helped eliminate toxic chemicals from art supplies, advocated for cleanup of toxic waste sites, and fought and won toxics right-to-know laws. Most recently in Maryland we helped pass the Family and Firefighter Protection Act to ban the use of toxic flame retardant chemicals in children’s products, furniture and mattresses, and we passed a law requiring all Maryland schools to test for and remediate lead in school drinking water.
 

Maryland Call To Action
Pass the George “Walter” Taylor Act

We are calling on legislators to protect public Maryland families and firefighters by restricting the use and disposal of toxic PFAS chemicals in Maryland.

Please send a message to your state legislators today.