Boy with plastic bottle in kitchen

& Toxics


Making Minnesota a Healthy Place to Live

We’re committed to promoting heathy communities by reducing waste, reusing resources, and removing toxic chemicals from goods and resources Minnesotans bring into their homes.

We work together with our neighbors, business leaders, and decision makers to promote waste reduction, recycling best practices, and good stewardship of the resources we have. Conservation Minnesota helped pass policies that make it easier to recycle hazardous materials and improved Minnesota’s Electronic Recycling Act.

More than 80,000 chemicals are used in commerce, but the EPA has required safety testing on only 200.

Today, consumers aren’t considering only the environmental impacts of products but also the impacts to human health. While it can be difficult to determine what chemicals and products are safe, we educate citizens and policymakers on the need for laws regulating the use of chemicals and products that could cause harm to our health and environment.

Accomplishments: Toxics That Are Out

  • We helped make Minnesota the first state to ban BPA (bisphenyl-A) from baby bottles and sippy cups.
  • We worked with the Minnesota Professional Firefighters Association to pass the most comprehensive flame retardant ban in the country.
  • In May of 2020, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to phase out TCE, an industrial solvent, and known human carcinogen, which can be released both into the air and water.

Taking on Forever Chemicals

PFAS, or Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a top priority for Conservation Minnesota. PFAS are a large group of synthetic chemicals often used for their nonstick and water-resistant properties and linked to health conditions including low birth weights, immune system impairments, decreased fertility, and increased risk of cancers. PFAS are referred to as forever chemicals.

In June of 2021, the Minnesota Legislature passed a ban on the intentional use of PFAS in food packaging. The bill bans the manufacture, distribution, and sale of food packaging containing PFAS chemicals beginning in 2024. This is a victory to celebrate, and only the start, as PFAS can be found in many consumer goods like nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant furniture and carpet, and personal care products.

This session, legislation is in the works to tackle several more product categories. There are bills to prohibit all non-essential uses of PFAS, remove PFAS from firefighting foam, and to increase reporting requirements. 

Peregrine falcon in flight
Get the Lead Out

Lead is a toxic metal that has adverse effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of mammals and birds. Found in most fishing jigs and sinkers, this metal is poisoning wildlife such as loons and eagles.

Waste & Toxics Initiatives
Child drinks a glass of water

It’s estimated that Minnesota has 100,000 lead service lines delivering drinking water to our homes. The only way to protect drinking water is to replace all lead pipes. A bill has been introduced to provide funding to help cities find and replace all old lead pipes by 2033. 

Take one minute to urge your elected officials to make protecting our children from toxic lead exposure a top priority this session.

Waste Barrels

Trichloroethylene or “TCE” is an industrial solvent often used as a degreaser for metal. The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies TCE as a human carcinogen and a developmental toxin. The chemical has been banned in the European Union and Sweden, but it is still widely used in the United States. In May of 2020, Minnesota was the first state in the nation to ban the toxin. 

Two male firefighters walking next to fire truck

Twice, we’ve helped pass laws that protect our kids and firefighters from toxic flame retardant chemicals.