WASHINGTON – NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.), Fashion FWD and US PIRG Education Fund have released a first-of-its-kind scorecard ranking the PFAS policy commitments of a number of major retail brands and clothes. Levi Strauss & Co. received the highest rating for already eliminating PFAS from its supply chain. However, global brands like Macy’s, Inc., Nordstrom, Costco and others received low or insufficient ratings.
Popular outdoor brands have largely received poor ratings, despite vocal customer bases concerned about the environment and public health. Columbia Sportswear, REI, Wolverine Worldwide (parent company of Wolverine and Merrell) and others received “F’s”. Patagonia Inc. earned a “B,” the highest score in the industry, as the only outdoor brand to commit to eliminating all PFAS in all products by 2024.
PFAS are a large class of toxic “eternal chemicals” that pose an immediate threat to the safety of air, water, and consumer products in the United States. The class of chemicals is highly mobile and difficult to break down resulting in widespread contamination of the environment with ineffective options for mass cleanup. When ingested, PFAS have been linked to health problems such as cancer, liver damage, weakened immune systems, and developmental problems in children.
Here are statements from the co-authors of the dashboard:
“This dashboard empowers consumers to use their purchasing power for good. Commitments from major apparel brands and retailers, along with comprehensive policy changes, can go a long way in tackling pollution from PFAS. It is particularly unacceptable and ironic that the outerwear space has scored as badly as they do. We must hold multi-billion dollar outdoor brands like Columbia accountable for worsening the PFAS crisis. Sujatha Bergen, Director, Health Campaigns, NRDC
“Many companies do not label the use of PFAS in their products and use outdated definitions and misleading terminology in their PFAS commitments that are inconsistent with the majority of the international and scientific communities. These outdated definitions and lack of labeling can confuse consumers about whether the products they buy contain PFAS and prevent them from making the best choice for themselves, their families and the environment. – Alexandra Quinn, Founder and CEO, Fashion FWD
“PFAS contamination can occur throughout the garment manufacturing lifecycle. It pollutes our waters, can be ingested by children at home, ends up in landfills or incinerated and released into the air. To effectively combat PFAS contamination, apparel brands must stop using hazardous chemicals forever and replace them with safer alternatives. – Emily Rogers, Advocate, Zero Out Toxics, US PIRG Education Fund
The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international non-profit environmental organization with over 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health and the environment. The NRDC has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Fashion FWD is an American non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate the negative human and environmental effects of chemicals used in textile manufacturing by promoting better consumer shopping and improving brand practices. . We achieve this by leading consumer education and action. Visit us at www.fashionfwd.org and follow us on instagram @fashion_FWD to get involved and learn more.
US PIRG Education Fund is an independent, nonpartisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and awareness, we serve as a counterbalance to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.