We're working with the Washington Department of Health to combine efforts to reduce harmful chemicals in consumer products, under the Safer Products for Washington program. But, our work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Why research and regulate products if we don’t hear from you, if Washington communities don’t have a seat at the table? To that end, between November 2021 and January 2022, we asked Washingtonians to respond to a short survey about products that concern you. The survey response was amazing! We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who shared their thoughtful ideas and genuine concerns.
Nearly 400 people filled out the survey, and 95% of those people said yes, I am concerned about harmful chemicals in consumer products. You ranked the product categories that the Safer Products for Washington team is currently reviewing and gave us a thorough list of other products that concern you — from shoes, to adhesives, to pet products, and many more. You also shared questions and concerns about how your communities use products.
Products on Washingtonians’ minds
In thinking about the products our team is already working on, Washingtonians who responded are most concerned about personal care and beauty products, like lotion, soap, and perfume. They're also concerned about food and drink cans and laundry detergent, with carpet and paint following close behind.
It’s never too early to start thinking ahead to the next cycle of our Safer Products for Washington program. You are the experts in your community, and we can’t do this work without you. Ecology and Health scientists will explore your ideas for other products to consider regulating.
Thank you for letting us know your general concerns about how your communities are using products. It’s important for us to know that communities across Washington need more consumer education to sort through chemical names and complicated labeling. As one survey respondent said,
“I'd like the products I use to be safe. I also do not want to have to investigate and become a researcher to know how to keep myself, wildlife, and the environment safe."
In addition to prioritizing consumer education, we heard that communities worry about single-use plastic, and they need improved access to recycling and ethical disposal options for products and packaging. We will share these concerns with our Solid Waste Management program. Check out the complete list of new product ideas to research and other areas of concern.
What happens next
Our team will continue reviewing your list of new product ideas, and we look forward to researching them. The law we’re implementing exempts some things, like fertilizer, food, and medicine. Even though the Safer Products for Washington program can’t address these products, we’ll share your comments with the right staff in other Ecology programs or government agencies. It takes a village!
What should you do now to make safer choices for you and your family? How can you continue to be involved? Your survey comments guide the public-oriented resources we create. Explore our new safer products at home webpage, where we collect resources you can use to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and make informed purchases. Please share the new webpage with friends and family across the state. As always, do not hesitate to email the Safer Products for Washington team with ideas and questions. Use your seat at the table to keep us informed about what’s happening in your community!