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

Lawmakers vote to require product-specific disclosure of toxic chemicals!

Today we won an important victory in the fight to protect our children from toxic chemicals. Over the past few months, the Department of Health and the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) have been working through the rule-making process of Act. 188 to ensure the law is implemented as intended. Despite hearing from industry lobbyists ...

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How does your plastic taste?

Probably a bit like sea salt, according to a new report published in Environmental Science & Technology. We’ve known the pervasiveness of microplastic pollution in our lakes and oceans has seriously disrupted marine ecosystems by fooling organisms into thinking it is food, among other things. Now researchers have discovered plastic in common table salt found in ...

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Macy’s agrees to stop selling toxic furniture!

Just hours before planned events  at Macy’s stores in ten states calling attention to the retailer’s sale of some furniture products containing toxic flame retardant chemicals, Macy’s announced it would end the practice. As part of the Mind the Store campaign, VPIRG and other public health and environmental groups around the country had been pressuring ...

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Microbeads: Much More Trick than Treat

As we learn more about the impact that microbeads have on our environment, Vermonters are realizing they are something to be afraid of this Halloween. Microbeads are small plastic beads added to things like toothpaste and face washes to help with exfoliation.  A recent article in the Washington Post noted that up to 8 trillion ...

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VT students research innovative solutions to our plastic woes

Kids seem to often have a better ability to recognize problems than adults do. This was certainly the case in a Windsor classroom this week as I spoke with middle school students about two major environmental issues we’re facing today- microbeads in personal care products and ever-present plastic bags. To the students, it’s simple: we use ...

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UN Report Calls for Microbead Ban

The United Nations Environment Programme has released a new report in which it recommends a ban on microplastics, including microbeads, found in personal care products. The report states, “for the last 50 years, microparticles of plastic, or microplastics, have been used in personal care products and cosmetics, replacing natural options in a large number of cosmetic ...

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VPIRG and Allies Advocate for Strong Toxic Free Families Act Rules

Today VPIRG’s Environmental Health team traveled to the Department of Health in Burlington to speak at a public hearing on rules around implementation of the Toxic Free Families Act. And we weren’t alone- over 250 Vermonters and VPIRG members were with us in the form of a signed petition voicing their support for strong rules that ...

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Buying Microbead Free

We’re working to pass legislation to ban microbeads in consumer products in Vermont. These beads are found in numerous varieties of home beauty products: toothpaste, facial cleanser, soap, and body wash to name a few. And even a little tube can pack a big punch when rinsed down the drain- The 5 Gyres Institute estimates that one ...

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