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Retailer REI phasing out products made with 'forever chemicals' by 2026

REI plans to stop selling items made with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or "forever chemicals."
Posted at 11:26 AM, Feb 27, 2023

Outdoor retailer REI will stop selling products made with Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, the company announced last week.

REI said the prohibition of all products that include PFAS will be complete by 2026, according to the new company guidance.

PFAS are mostly found in nonstick and water-resistant consumer products. PFAS are commonly referred to as "forever chemicals" because they do not break down in the environment.

“The standards keep the co-op and over 1,000 of our brand partners accountable as we address the issues that are most important to our community,” said Chris Speyer, vice president of product for REI. “The products we carry represent our greatest opportunities to support better ways of doing business. We want our members and customers to know the products they purchase at REI are helping to build a better retail industry.”

Cookware, clothing and bags made with PFAS sold by REI will no longer be on shelves by fall 2024. All remaining textiles with PFAS will be banned by the company by fall 2026.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said PFAS do not break down in the environment, can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources, and build up in fish and wildlife. The CDC said the health impacts for low levels of PFAS are unclear.

Scientists note identifying and reducing sources of forever chemical exposure is an urgent public health priority.