Remove PFAS from Food Packaging

For our 2020-2021 campaign, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is reaching out to supporters to contact their local representatives in support of legislation that would ban PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) from food packaging across the Commonwealth. Continuing with the momentum from last year’s campaign which was focused on protecting Massachusetts drinking water from PFAS, this year we are extending that effort to address the PFAS found in items like sandwich wrappers and bakery bags. As part of MBCC’s new campaign, we are inviting all high school students across the Commonwealth to join this letter-writing campaign and make their voices heard with state legislators.

Many of the chemicals used in food packaging can leach into food and enter people’s bodies. A 2019 study by Silent Spring Institute revealed that people who ate more meals at home had significantly lower levels of PFAS in their bodies vs. those who consumed more fast food or ate out more often. Chemicals in food packaging also raise health concerns when they are disposed of in landfills as they can enter the soil and groundwater, potentially contaminating drinking water supplies.

Currently, Bill S. 1315 and Bill H. 3839 are two pieces of legislation geared towards removing these harmful chemicals from food packaging in Massachusetts. We are inviting MBCC supporters, along with educators, parents/caregivers, and high school students to voice their support for the passage of these two bills so we can help eradicate the health repercussions linked to exposure to these toxins.

S.1315 – An Act relative to chemicals in food packaging

H.3839 – An Act to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging

The Time to Act is Now!

In the past two years, Washington, Maine, and, most recently, New York have been successful in adopting policies banning the use of PFAS in food packaging. Likely to follow will be California which has prioritized similar policies under their Green Chemistry & Safer Consumer Products legislation. It is crucial Massachusetts joins this list as well.

In addition to Massachusetts, the following states also have policies currently up for consideration related to banning PFAS from food packaging in favor of safer alternative options: Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

For information on how to identify & contact your local MA legislators, please visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

From there, you will be able to find the email address and telephone number to either send a written letter or speak directly with the legislators that serve your area to voice your support for these two bills.

Be sure to mention that you are contacting their office as part of MBCC’s 2020-2021 campaign!

Join MBCC in our efforts to protect future generations!


June 2020 Update from MBCC’s Executive Director

Dear Friends in Prevention,
 
I hope this finds you and your loved ones well during these truly challenging times.
 
At the heart of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s (MBCC) work for nearly 30 years there has always been a focus on environmental justice – this is reflected in the many groups and organizations we have partnered with, and in our commitment to deliver the vital health information from the Let’s Talk Prevention program translated into seven languages (and more to come), so that as many people as possible can learn about ways to protect themselves, their families, and communities from environmental toxins. We want to acknowledge how this pandemic, disproportionate exposure to environmental toxins, and racial inequalities have overwhelmingly affected communities of color. We, at MBCC, are both heartbroken and outraged by the tragic deaths of George Floyd and of far too many others to count. All of us must do better. MBCC continues to actively listen to the voices of those who have been silenced for far too long, and we are committed to continuing to use our voice to influence policies that result in safer and healthier communities for everyone.
 
While the school year comes to an end, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty in terms of when and how educators and students will be able to safely return to school. I am pleased that MBCC recently expanded the Let’s Talk Prevention Actions You Can Take high school program to now include classroom materials for both middle and elementary school students. Given the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the quick transition to remote learning, we felt compelled to modify both our existing and new materials to help support the needs of teachers, parents/caregivers, and students so they can utilize the modules both in and outside of the classroom. The modules cover topics ranging from reducing household toxin exposure to wireless radiation to the risks of PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) water contamination. (Please see the poster below for more information).
 
MBCC has also launched a new campaign to advocate for legislation to protect the health of all communities across the state. Building on the momentum of last year’s PFAS water contamination campaign, we are expanding these efforts to address harmful PFAS found in food packaging. We hope you will read more about this campaign here and join us in supporting two pending bills, S.1315 and H.3839, that would ban the use of PFAS in food packaging in Massachusetts.
 
While we are not able to fundraise through traditional means, MBCC is moving forward with Against the Tide as virtual events this summer. These multi-sport events provide much-needed funding for MBCC’s programs and community outreach, and we are deeply appreciative of all who join with us as a sponsor, volunteer, or participant. We will truly miss seeing so many of you on the beach in Hopkinton as we have for the past 27 years and in Brewster as we have for the past 20 years. We hope that, if you are able to do so, you will consider joining us as a virtual participant or making a donation. Now more than ever, MBCC needs your support towards the mission of cancer prevention for our children, grandchildren, and future generations.
 
Over the past few months, we have been continuously inspired by the strength and dedication of so many who day after day put the needs of their community above their own in the battle against COVID-19. As the state moves through the phases of re-opening, all of us at MBCC hope you and your families remain safe and healthy as we all continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges that lie ahead. 
 
With caring appreciation,

 
Cheryl Osimo
Executive Director
508-246-3047
cherylosimo@comcast.net


Program and Campaign Update from MBCC’s Executive Director

Dear MBCC Friends,

I hope that this letter finds you, your family, and your loved ones well.

Today, as promised, I am pleased to announce that we have expanded the Let’s Talk Prevention: Actions You Can Take (LTP) high school program to now include classroom materials for both middle and elementary school students. In 2017, MBCC was proud to introduce classroom modules developed in partnership with scientists and educators to provide high school students with tools to fully understand how environmental exposures can negatively impact our health. We have once again worked with our partners to provide age-appropriate materials for middle and elementary school students. With the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the quick transition to remote learning, we felt compelled to modify both our existing and new materials to help support the needs of teachers, parents/caregivers, and students so they can utilize the materials both in and outside of the classroom. The modules cover topics ranging from how to reduce household toxic exposures, the links between radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices and our health, and the risks of PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) contamination.

Along with the expanded environmental health program for students, I am also pleased to announce the launch of MBCC’s campaign which emphasizes the importance of advocating for safer legislation that will benefit every community across the Commonwealth – and invites students to help lead the charge. MBCC is reaching out to educators and parents/caregivers to help encourage high school students across Massachusetts to contact their local representatives in support of legislation that would ban PFAS from food packaging across the state. MBCC will be actively monitoring the status of two bills in particular – S.1315 and H.3839 – which are geared towards removing these harmful toxins from food packaging, and encouraging students to revisit the MBCC website for updates regarding the campaign.

This campaign will help students remain engaged with their fellow classmates who choose to participate in this “call to action” to ensure state legislators are proactive about the passage of policies that will protect generations to come from harmful and unnecessary exposures to PFAS. We hope that by combining MBCC’s health education curriculum with the opportunity for students to participate in civic engagement through this year’s advocacy campaign that our efforts will help prevent future health implications related to environmental exposures.

We invite you to visit the MBCC website and share these materials with family, friends, and community while we all continue adapting to the rapidly changing world around us.

All of us at MBCC wish you and your family good health as we continue to navigate these difficult times.

With caring appreciation,


Massachusetts moves forward to address drinking water contaminants

As part of Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s ongoing water quality campaign, the following comments were recently submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in regard to their proposed rule to regulate PFAS contaminants in the Commonwealth’s drinking water supplies.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) applauds the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for adopting an enforceable standard for PFASs in groundwater at contaminated sites in order to protect drinking water quality. MBCC is also pleased to see that MassDEP has proposed a drinking water standard that is also enforceable and is stricter than the national lifetime health advisory put forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

MBCC continues to be deeply concerned about the serious health risks to Massachusetts residents from exposure to PFAS chemicals. We are encouraged by MassDEP’s approach for the proposed standard that includes the concentrations of PFOS, PFOA, and four additional PFAS compounds, as this approach recognizes the extreme persistence of PFAS compounds as a class. However, MBCC continues to be concerned that there are many more PFASs beyond these six compounds that also need to be addressed.

We know that scientists have determined that PFAS as a class of chemicals are both extremely persistent and mobile. It is because of these characteristics that MBCC urges MassDEP to consider additional approaches that will address PFAS as a class, in addition to this important first step of developing a standard to limit PFOS, PFOA, and other closely related compounds. Additionally, we know that scientists’ understanding of the effects of PFAS on the human body is continually evolving. With more and more information, scientists are discovering that there are health impacts at lower levels of exposure. Therefore, MBCC also urges MassDEP to be vigilant in making sure that its regulations and standards keep pace with emerging science.

MBCC believes that by casting as broad a net as possible when considering PFAS and ensuring that regulations reflect the most up-to-date research, the health of Massachusetts residents will be best protected.


Support Massachusetts Children & Firefighters

Massachusetts Children & Firefighters Need Your Support!

Bill H.5024, An Act to Protect Children, Families, and Firefighters from Harmful Flame Retardants is sitting on Governor Baker’s desk awaiting his signature.

After 8 years of hearings and testimonies, the Massachusetts House and Senate voted on New Year’s Day to pass H.5024, a bill which bans 11 toxic flame retardants from children’s products, mattresses and bedding, upholstered furniture, and window treatments. Each year, there are more cases of cancer among firefighters and more children with health problems, as both are exposed to these dangerous toxins at high levels.

There is now just 24 hours to make your voice heard on this important piece of legislation! 

Governor Baker must sign the bill by Friday, January 11, 2019, for it to become law. Please call the Governor’s office by 5 p.m. Thursday to express your support of the bill and to urge him to protect the health of Massachusetts residents.

  • Call the Governor’s office at 617-725-4005
  • Give your name and city or town
  • Tell Governor Baker that you want him to sign H.5024, and share your own reason for supporting the bill

Call today and together we can make a difference in the health of future generations!