Making Vermont a safer and healthier place to live by reducing waste and eliminating toxins from consumer products, drinking water, and our environment.

Thousands of toxic or untested chemicals are used in products we’re exposed to every day in our homes, schools, and workplaces. From PFAS in our drinking water to pesticides in our natural environment to harmful chemicals found in single-use plastics and other consumer products, there are simply too many hidden dangers. These toxins are building up in our bodies and contributing to alarming trends in public health, including increased rates of birth defects, developmental disabilities, reproductive disorders, cancers, and more.

VPIRG supports federal and state legislation that will get known toxins out of consumer products and require health and safety testing before chemicals make it into products on our store shelves. We are also committed to promoting a circular economy that reduces waste, creates jobs, and holds manufacturers accountable for environmental impacts from the full life cycle of products they create.

Learn more about our Environmental Health campaigns:


Recent Environmental Health News

Mercury Lamps Bill Passes Senate

On Thursday, the Senate gave final approval to a bill that requires manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps to establish and finance a free and convenient recycling program for their spent bulbs from residents and small businesses. Pending the Governor’s approval, Vermont will become the third state in the country to establish such a program.

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S. 34 Mercury Lamps Fact Sheet

A guide to the Mercury Lamps Bill (S.34). S.34 would require manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps to establish a free and convenient recycling program for fluorescent bulbs. By financing the cost of recycling their products, manufacturers will have a powerful incentive to design their lamps to last longer and to exclude the toxic materials, including ...

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Fact Sheet on Green Cleaning

Conventional cleaning products used in schools can contain a wide variety of harmful chemicals that have been linked to asthma, cancer, and other negative health effects. The potential for these chemicals to pollute indoor air and impair the health and comfort of students and staff cannot be dismissed.

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Important vote on mercury lamp recycling

The benefits of fluorescent bulbs in terms of energy efficiency are tremendous, and VPIRG supports their continued use. However, fluorescent bulbs also contain mercury, a known neurotoxin that can build up in our bodies and the environment. As the demand for energy efficient lighting increases, it’s imperative that Vermont have an effective recycling infrastructure ...

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Senate voting on safer, greener schools

Late last week the Senate Education committee passed a bill (S.92) to protect Vermont’s children from harmful cleaning chemicals in schools. The bill will require schools in Vermont to use safer, green cleaning supplies, and is headed to the full Senate for a vote.

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Tritium leak reaches local drinking water aquifer

Tritium was discovered in a former drinking water well at Vermont Yankee, according to the Vermont Department of Health. The well where the tritium was found is about 360 feet deep, passing through the bedrock into the underground aquifer at the plant. The sample taken from the well revealed tritium concentration of 1,380 picocuries-per-liter. Entergy Louisiana could be ...

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