REI Should be a Leader in the Fight Against PFAS


Instead, there’s a toxic secret hiding in some of it’s stylish gear.

There are about 9000 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. LDA works to reduce exposure to chemicals like PFAS that may harm children’s brains and lead to learning, attention and other disabilities.

The CDC also states that PFAS may affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children. We know enough now about PFAS including other health effects like interfering with the body’s natural hormones; impairing fertility; increasing cholesterol levels; affecting the immune system; reducing vaccine-induced immune protection in children; and increasing the risk of some cancers. We need to act now.

LDA is disappointed with the lack of any new commitment on PFAS by REI. REI is already behind Patagonia and other companies who know there are safer alternatives and are committing to get rid of all PFAS in the products they sell in the next year or two. That is the kind of commitment we need from REI. REI has the purchasing power and the company needs to make sure they are putting the health of families and the environment first.

Every state has a PFAS problem polluting our water, soil, food, the environment – and our bodies.

REI, please listen to your members and work with us and the Mind The Store campaign so you can be a true leader tackling the PFAS crisis.

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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