Madeleine Hagen reports.

SEATTLE, Wash. — From Scotch Tape, to snow boots, chances are, you’ve probably used a 3M product.

But there’s been something hiding in their products, not viewable to the eye, that could be harming our health and according to State officials is contaminating our water.

“3M has announced that after decades of producing the chemicals called PFAS that have contaminated drinking water all over the planet that it’s now going to move away from these chemicals,” Erika Schreder with Toxic Free Future said.

The Seattle-based organization said they’re cautiously optimistic about this announcement.

Schreder said 3M has a lot of work to do.

“For some time into the future, 3M is going to face litigation and massive clean up costs because it produces chemicals even though it knew they were harmful and persistent,” she said.

Erika said companies are starting to realize that consumers across the nation are demanding safer products and checking what’s inside the products they use everyday.

But, it’s going to take work to transition the thousand of items that 3M makes.

“3M has not announced what type of chemistry they’re going to move toward – so we don’t really know, this is a great opportunity for 3M to make a great decision that it starts producing the products it produces that way these products are as safe as they can be,” she said.

In Washington state, Erika said we’re pioneering a movement into safer products and drinking water.

In 2019, legislation passed the Safer Products Law and recently, the Department of Ecology prioritized chemicals that need to be regulated more or restricted.

“Our State Department of Ecology is directed to take action to restrict chemicals like PFAS and hormone-disrupting phthalates, hormone disrupting alkylphenols in priority products to reduce our exposure,” Schreder explained.

As the years progress, the Department will continue to make priority lists as well as what the chemicals are commonly found in.

“So we’ll be the first state to end the use of bisphenols in thermal paper so that will make the receipts you get at the store safer, we’re going to ban phthalates in vinyl flooring, ending the use of toxic flame retardants in electronics casings,” she said.

Schreder believed we’ll start to see a switch in how products are made and what they’re made of, as more governments enact laws like Washington has.

“Consumers want to bring safe products into our homes, and they should expect that what they buy at the store is safe.

 

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