The Sierra Club works to protect people and the environment from toxic chemical pollution.   Reducing exposure to hazardous substances protects families and wildlife, and improves our water quality and neighborhoods.


A top Sierra Club priority is reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  For almost 40 years environmental organizations have struggled to reform this weak and ineffective national law. It has addressed few chemicals and remains unenforced. As a result, thousands of untested chemicals enter the marketplace without regulation or warning labels. Some recently proposed TSCA reform bills have been inadequate, but now there is one Sierra Club can support..


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- This week, Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, legislation co-authored with Senator Ed Markey to reform federal chemical policy.


In response, Melinda Pierce, Legislative Director for the Sierra Club, released the following statement:


"“Senator Boxer’s legislation is the true gold standard to bring meaningful reform that implements real safeguards to protect our families from dangerous toxic chemicals. This bill ensures the effort to protect Americans from toxics doesn't get rolled back, but moves forward. American families can’t wait any longer for strong legislation like this, and it is past time for it to get a fair hearing in the Senate.”

Learn more at:

The Sierra Club's overall goals are to :

  • Reform national and international systems of regulating toxics in commerce.
  • Reduce exposure to toxics where we work, live, and play;
  • Eliminate unnecessary toxic chemicals in consumer products;
  • Return the United States as a leader in protecting the public from toxics.

It seeks to do this by::

  • Empowering Sierra Club activists, members, and the public to reduce threats to public and environmental health caused by toxic chemicals. 
  • Educating consumers about the potential risks of hazardous substances such as endocrine disruptors, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and other persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs)
  • Following the Precautionary Principle when there is a lack of information about risks from exposures,
  • Reforming national and international systems of regulating toxics in commerce or from past practices, especially those in consumer products, so that they more effectively protect the public and the environment.
  • Promoting legislation that will reduce exposure to toxics where we work, live and play;
  • Working with local communities to clean up toxic waste sites;
  • Advocating for environmental justice for all people.

You can learn more about the Toxics Program and access its many resource documents on its Grassroots Network Team site:

Joining our Team enables you to share information about the toxics issues that you work on.


Toxic Fire Retardants Continue to Threaten Human Health

Fire retardants such as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are chemicals added to furniture, electronics, foam insulation, and building materials so they will not easily burn. PBDEs are not chemically bound to the flame-retarded material, so they enter the environment from volatilization, leaching, or degradation of PBDE-containing products. They accumulate in house dust, exposing children, adults, and pets through inhalation or ingestion. PBDEs, found in blood and breast milk, are now found in almost all people studied.

Assisting Residents of Toxic Trailers Led to Recognition of Additional Dangers of Formaldehyde

After Hurricane Katrina, Sierra Club volunteers Becky Gillette, Mary DeVany and the local Sierra Club assisted displaced residents sickened by formaldehyde contamination of their government-issued trailers. Sierra Club began testing the trailers and advocating for change which would help ensure that such poisonings would never happen again - in trailers or anywhere else. Now Sierra Club’s years of work to publicize the hazards of formaldehyde is finally seeing progress. August 8, 2014, the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that formaldehyde can cause three rare forms of cancer.


What’s the connection between the health of our bodies and that of our planet? The truth is that our everyday environment—where we live, work and play—affects our reproductive health and that of future generations. As consumers and citizens, we have an opportunity to invest in a more sustainable future and advocate for policies that live up to our vision for environmental and reproductive justice.
Parkinsons Group

New Mexico Sierrans take action to study how Pesticides are linked to Parkinson's Disease

In early 2012, Sierra Club members in the Las Cruces Group in New Mexico, organized the Pestidides & Parkinson's Disease Committee.  They were inspired by an article in the Jan. 2012 issue of SIERRA Magazine: “Parkinson’s Alley”.
Iron King Superfund site - mine tailings.jpg

Sierra Club Tool Kit for Cleanup of Superfund and Other Toxic Sites

This tool kit lists and describes many resources for citizens working to clean up toxic waste in thier communities.

Sierra Club Fact Sheets on Toxics

Sierra Club Factsheets on toxics can be downloaded and printed for educating others.

Sierra Club Toxics Policies

These national policies can be used to support positions taken by Sierra Club entities. National policy on jurisdiction and use of Sierra Club policies can be found at: