Toxics-Free Environments


Building for a Better Future

Worker building a house outside
Right now, there is an important conversation happening in Oregon, and around the country, about buildings. The buildings in which we live and work are a critical piece of the climate puzzle. They are both vital to reducing climate change causing fossil fuels and our first line of defense against climate harms like extreme heat, wildfire smoke, and air pollution.  Buildings are the second largest–and growing–source of climate pollution in Oregon, responsible for 34 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the fossil fuels used for ...

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2022 Oregon legislative victories!

2022 Legislative Session Banner
With a flurry of action in just five short weeks, the 2022 Legislative Session concluded on March 4th. This year’s session started with extreme uncertainty as a result of major changes in leadership and a new COVID variant. It also began with good news: an unexpectedly large state budget surplus. In the end, Oregon Environmental Council is thrilled that most of our major priorities made it across the finish line and that we helped win crucial investments in environmental and community benefits. We did this work, like always, in collaboration with a wide array of ...

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2022 Oregon Legislature: Mid-Session Update

The 2022 Legislative Session is well underway. OEC staff have jumped in with both feet, analyzing bills and recommending improvements, writing and delivering strong testimony, organizing partnered groups, and defending against harmful proposals. So far we have testified on over 20 unique bills and inspired nearly 300 citizen contacts to legislators and committees from OEC activists like you. We have focused our efforts on four key areas.  Efficient and resilient buildings and communities, Clean and equitable transportation,  Jobs, Justice, and Health  ...

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Grinchlike behavior: Toy Association delivers lawsuit against safer toys just in time for the New Year

In one of the most Grinch-like moves of 2021, American Apparel, the Toy Association, and its member coalition- Safe to Play, filed a lawsuit during the week of Christmas, in an effort to ensure that they can continue delivering toxic toys to Oregon kids.  They claim that the final rules of Oregon’s Toxic Free Kids Act (TFKA) is preempted based on the  Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) and Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), and that compliance with phaseouts, especially if they have to pay the fees to apply for waivers, will cause them “irreparable harm.” ...

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Heat Pumps: They Heat. They Cool. They burn no fossil fuel.

Heat Pumps are a relatively new way to heat and cool indoor spaces. There’s a variety of different models that can work for apartments, offices, and for single-family homes. Three of our staff sat down for a conversation about the options for single-family homes.* OEC’s Deputy Director of Philanthropy, Teke Dillender is considering a heat pump for her home. Joel Schoening, OEC Director of Communications is about to have a heat pump installed and Sara Wright, OEC’s Transportation Program Director, already has a heat pump. Here’s our chat.    Teke Dillender ...

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Hold the wrapping paper! Most of that gift-wrap is not eco-friendly nor recyclable

It is that time of year again—no matter what holiday you celebrate, or what religion you subscribe to, it is difficult to be unaffected by the enthusiasm of the season of giving and reflection. It is predicted that the average American will spend $942 on holiday gifts this year. It is no secret that as consumerism spreads, landfills also fill up, and the Earth suffers.   According to Stanford University, Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. And most of that holiday wrap is not eco-friendly ...

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Top Ten Achievements of 2020-2021

Oregon Environmental Council works year-round to protect Oregon's water, air, land, and communities. This year was a special one. We made Oregon a better place through our participation in state-wide coalitions, tireless bird-dogging of rulemaking processes, deft strategy in the legislative session, and hosting welcoming educational programs. This work is is a reflection of our donors. Take a moment to revel with us in these outstanding accomplishments. Then consider supporting this work, so we can add to our accomplishments in the days, weeks, and months ahead. 1. Passed ...

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Removing Barriers to Safe Home Cleaning Products

Many popular and inexpensive home cleaning products contain toxic chemicals. There are alternatives, but they can be expensive or require extra steps. What happens when those barriers are removed? OEC partnered with Hacienda CDC to find out. Hacienda CDC Eco- Healthy Home Survey In the Fall/Winter of 2020, socially distanced, in-person focus groups and bilingual online surveys were held in Hacienda CDC’s housing communities to listen to residents' concerns about toxic chemicals in the home. COVID-19 hit the Latino/x community particularly hard, and the increased ...

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Summer isn’t the only time to worry about woodsmoke

As we roll into fall, many people start cleaning out their wood-burning stoves and fireplaces to start heating their homes, or just to get that cozy ambiance. What many people don’t realize is that, when a lot of people are burning wood in their homes, the cumulative effect on air quality can be similar to a wildfire. OEC has been advocating to reduce harmful air pollution from urban wood fires and to provide healthier options for those that rely on woodburning as a primary heat source.   Specifically, OEC has been working closely with Woodsmoke Free Portland and the ...

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Without TFKA expansions, OHA forced to choose 5 chemicals to regulate

There’s thousands of potentially harmful chemicals in products that are marketed to kids. As of now, OHA can regulate just a few of them. We need to change that.  In 2015, OEC’s advocacy lead to the passage of a groundbreaking law, the Toxics Free Kids Act (TFKA), which required manufacturers of children's products sold in Oregon to report certain products containing High Priority Chemicals of Concern for Children’s Health (HPCCCH) (“high priority chemical list”), and ultimately phase them out. However, the chemical and toy industry successfully limited the ...

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