Big Win: REI is Telling PFAS to Take a Hike!

A BIG Healthy Children Project win! REI has announced they are removing PFAS from their products!
Thank you

We are happy to report that REI announced they are removing PFAS from their products! REI has now set a deadline of the fall of 2024 for cookware and textiles including apparel and the fall of 2026 for expedition level apparel!

If you’ve watched the Dark Waters movie, you know some PFAS chemicals were first used in Teflon pans to prevent food from sticking and when back then, the companies knew PFAS were harmful to human health. PFAS prevents grease from sticking and makes products more water-resistant. 

There are thousands of PFAS chemicals and LDA is concerned about all of them whether they are short chain or long chain and the scientists agree. They all seem to bioaccumulate, persist in people and the environment, and particularly concerning to LDA, a January 2022 study of brain autopsy samples from people who lived in a PFAS-polluted area showed PFAS was looking at the bioaccumulation in different brain areas and it showed “major accumulation in the brainstem area”.

Nearly every person has PFAS in their bodies and these chemicals stay in our bodies for years and don’t break down in the environment. Studies have linked PFAS to impaired fetal development as well as interfering with the thyroid and low birth weight, which can then affect children’s brains. The CDC also states that PFAS may affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children. LDA works to reduce exposure to chemicals like PFAS that may harm children’s brains and lead to learning, attention and other disabilities.

LDA has been working hard to get companies to stop using toxic PFAS chemicals which are polluting our drinking water, land and air, as well as our bodies.

The Mind The Store campaign and partners including LDA started asking REI to commit to getting PFAS out of their products over a year ago. Since REI is one of the largest outdoor retailers, getting them to join Patagonia would help lead the industry and push other companies to go PFAS-free.

In the fall, of 2022, LDA members joined advocates from across the country in a national week of action, among other action.

LDA state affiliates did REI store visits and talked to the managers in Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Alabama and Georgia affiliates also asked REI to get rid of PFAS chemicals. LDA affiliate volunteers sent emails to the company, shared social media posts, and asked questions at the REI annual meeting.

Thanks to so many people like you, REI has now committed to get all PFAS out of their products!

REI’s restrictions take effect in the fall of 2024 for cookware and textile products including, but not limited to, apparel, accessories, footwear, packs, and bags. REI has granted a longer timeline for professional, expedition-level apparel to fall of 2026. Thank you REI for committing to get all PFAS chemicals out of all the products they sell.

This is a huge win and it’s all because of LDA members and many others who join the Mind The Store campaign in taking action. Thank you!

Together, we are protecting children’s brain health and learning potential. Like what we do? Please donate to the Healthy Children Project today. 

Picture of Tracy Gregoire

Tracy Gregoire

Tracy Gregoire is the Healthy Children Project Director for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and is a long-time advocate for children’s health.

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