Reducing Toxic Threats photo identifier

Reducing Toxic Threats

Reducing Toxic Threats photo banner, photo courtesy of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition / Technical Advisory Group

Phthalates are chemicals used to make plastics
flexible. Phthalates are an endocrine disruptor
linked to developmental and reproductive issues
in humans and animals. They are used in paints,
hoses, shoes and many other common products and
most phthalate pollution in Washington comes from
these ordinary products rather than industrial

Reducing toxic threats

Much of the pollution that enters our environment comes from the small but steady releases of toxic chemicals contained in everyday products such as the brakes on our cars, flame retardants in our furniture, softeners in plastics, and metals in roofing materials. Some toxic chemicals impair development, some affect reproduction, some disrupt our body chemistry, and some cause cancer.

Ecology's Reducing Toxic Threats initiative focuses on identifying priority toxic chemicals and developing plans to reduce or eliminate their use, or to mitigate their impacts on people and the environment.

In 2015, Governor Jay Inslee proposed a comprehensive toxics reduction initiative to deal with these everyday toxics, tied to a plan to update Washington's water quality standards. Although the Legislature could not reach an agreement on the proposal, Gov. Inslee and Ecology remain committed to finding new ways to tackle everyday toxics.

What Ecology Is Doing

  • Developing chemical action plans
    Ecology leads Washington's efforts to identify sources of toxic chemicals and developing plans to reduce or eliminate their use.

    PCBs | PAHs | Lead | Flame retardants | Mercury | PFAS

  • Protecting Washington's children
    Washington's Children's Safe Products Act requires manufacturers of children's products sold in Washington to report if their product contains a Chemical of High Concern to Children and limits the amount of lead, cadmium, and phthalates allowed in children's products.

  • Testing consumer products for toxic chemicals
    Ecology conducts product testing to understand the sources of toxics entering our environment, to identify potential health risks, and to ensure compliance with Washington's laws and reporting requirements. Search our product testing data.

  • Finding safer alternatives
    Ecology is working with industry, other state governments and academic institutions to identify safer alternatives to toxic chemicals.

  • Advancing green chemistry
    Ecology uses the principles of green chemistry to help Washington businesses be more innovative, profitable, and competitive while protecting human health and the environment. It also supports educators by providing sustainable educational tools.

  • Reducing use of toxic substances in industry
    Ecology offers engineering and other technical assistance to manufacturers to reduce their use of toxic chemicals.

  • Supporting strong toxics policy
    Ecology supports strong policy at all levels to protect people and the environment from toxic chemicals.

Chemicals and substances

Chemicals and Hazards A-Z | Chemicals of High Concern to Children | Asbestos | Bisphenol A (BPA) | Diesel exhaust | Dioxins | Persistent, Bioaccumulative Toxics (PBTs) | Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Waste | Toxics in Packaging | Sediment Phthalates

Reducing Toxic Threats photo banner, photo courtesy of Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition / Technical Advisory Group

What You Can Do

Report a Spill:

Hot Topics

Test Drinking Water for Lead

Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Consumer Products - Full report | Focus sheet

Product Testing Data

Search data on products Ecology has tested

Focus on Toxics

Current regulations miss toxic pollution from everyday sources

Health Fact sheet

Protecting our children's health from toxics. (Dept. of Health)