In a significant move towards environmental responsibility, Dicks Sporting Goods‘ commitment comes as part of a major update to the company’s Restricted Substance List (RSL), which was established in March.

In response to Dick’s Sporting Goods’ new policy, Mike Schade, director of Mind the Store said: “Dick’s Sporting Goods has taken critical action by saying no to dangerous PFAS chemicals in its own-brand textiles.

The decision to ban PFAS follows mounting public pressure and the introduction of new state-level regulations targeting these harmful substances. Last year, a study conducted by Toxic-Free Future revealed the presence of PFAS in jackets and other textiles sold not only at Dick’s Sporting Goods but also at other retailers.

Schade continued: “When our testing found these dangerous chemicals in their products last year, we knew that action must be taken. No one’s drinking water should be polluted for a raincoat. Though this is a major step forward, Dick’s Sporting Goods must now work with suppliers to evaluate the safety of alternatives, to avoid replacing one toxic substance with another. And other retailers must also take action towards achieving healthier and more sustainable products.”

This discovery sparked a nationwide campaign by Toxic-Free Future’s Mind the Store programme, in collaboration with Safer States allies and various organisations, urging retailers like REI to discontinue the use of PFAS. In February, REI responded to the campaign by implementing a ban on PFAS, preceding Dick’s Sporting Goods’ recent commitment. In 2022, states such as California and New York passed legislation to restrict the use of PFAS in apparel and other textile products.

The production and improper disposal of PFAS have caused widespread pollution and contamination of drinking water in communities throughout the US. Notable examples include Daikin’s PFAS facility in Decatur, AL, and Chemours‘ PFAS plant in Fayetteville, NC.

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Sarah Doll, the national director of Safer States, commended the move and stated: “State leaders are excited to see companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods demonstrate leadership. States from California to Colorado to New York have stepped up to protect communities by banning PFAS in textiles. It is gratifying to see companies follow suit.”

Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, a grassroots organisation working to address PFAS contamination near Chemours in NC, expressed her optimism, and said: “Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision to ban PFAS means communities like mine have a fighting chance at a healthier future.”

Brenda Hampton, the founder of Concerned Citizens of WMEL Water Authority, a grassroots organisation dedicated to cleaning up PFAS drinking water contamination in Decatur, AL, added: “It’s a great day for customers who buy these products that the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods put customers and their families over profits.”