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Climate Health


Last week, REI Co-op stores around the country closed for Black Friday. It’s a company tradition dating back to 2015, where the outdoor retailer asks customers to “opt outside” rather than participate in a post-Thanksgiving shopping spree. 

But there’s one thing that REI hasn’t yet opted out of: a class of compounds known as “forever chemicals.” By using these chemicals in its water-resistant outdoor clothing, a coalition of nonprofits and health experts says REI is needlessly polluting the environment and damaging people’s health.

“It’s ironic that a company like REI … is selling products that are contaminating some of the most beautiful and wild places,” said Mike Schade, a program director for the nonprofit Toxic-Free Future. Similar companies such as Patagonia have already committed to phasing out per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS — and Schade’s organization is calling on REI to do the same.

PFAS comprise a class of chemicals that have been used in consumer products since the mid-19th centu... Read more

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