Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

toxics  -anneliese.jpgAlthough we assume the everyday products we use in our homes, workplaces and cars are safe for families and the environment, that is not always the case.

Sometimes, a toxic chemical such as lead or mercury is used in a product in a way that can directly harm people, particularly infants and young children who are still growing. In other cases, a product contains low levels of a toxic chemical and isn’t a direct threat when it is consumed or used. However, when the chemicals from thousands or millions of these products enter the environment, they can build up through the food chain and become significant threats to people and the environment.

Because of these threats, laws have been passed to address the most serious toxic chemicals present in consumer products. Washington has been a leader in regulating these everyday sources of toxics, including regulating lead wheel weights, mercury-containing lights, and chemicals in children’s products and consumer packaging.

epa-safer-choice.pngThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has information on chemicals and toxics, and how to make safer choices in the products you buy. The National Institutes of Health's Household Products Database has detailed information on a variety of household products, their contents, safe usage, and known risks.

More information on how Washington's laws are enforced is available in the menu on the right.

Washington's Toxics In Products Laws

Below, you'll find more information on our state's toxics regulations for consumer products

  • Children’s Safe Product Act
  • Toxics in Packaging
    • Regulates lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium used in packaging.
  • Better Brakes
    • Phases out copper in vehicle brakes by 2021.
    • Bans asbestos, hexavalent chromium, mercury, cadmium and lead beginning in 2015, requires reporting.
  • Copper boat paint
    • Phases out the use of copper-based antifouling bottom paints for recreational boats by 2021
  • Lead wheel weights
    • Bans the use of lead wheel weights during tire installation.
  • BPA (bisphenol A)
    • Bans BPA in children’s drinking products.
    • Bans BPA in sports bottles.
  • Coal tar sealant
    • Bans sale of coal tar sealants.
  • DecaBDE (flame retardant)
    • Bans the use of Deca-BDE in:
      • mattresses
      • residential furniture
      • electronics.
  • Mercury Education and Reduction Act
    • Bans mercury in:
      • thermometers
      • manometers, or blood-pressure gauges
      • commercial or residential thermostats unless the manufacturer participates in a recovery/recycling program
      • novelties, (toys, games, clothing, ointments, and other items)
      • newly manufactured cars containing mercury switches.
  • Mercury lights
    • Prohibits improper disposal of fluorescent tubes, CFLs and other mercury-containing lights.
    • Sets environmental handling charge for retail sales of mercury-containing lights to pay for collection and recycling program.