Safer Chemicals - Healthy Families

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Safer Chemicals - Healthy Families

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  • 1. Safer Chemicals Healthy Families A national campaign calling for stronger federal standards on toxic chemicalsIt’s time for common senselimits on toxic chemicalsGood health is precious, and we invest significant time and money to protect it. Yet,no matter how careful we are, it’s getting hard to avoid a serious threat to our health:toxic chemicals. From baby bottles made with bisphenol A to carpets containing formal-dehyde, dangerous chemicals are in our homes, places of work, and the products weuse every day. Every week, new science is linking toxic chemicals to increases in serioushealth problems among Americans.While the rates of asthma, diabetes, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning andbehavioral disorders keep going up, the federal system that should protect us fromhealth-harming chemicals hasn’t changed in 34 years. The Toxic Substances ControlAct (TSCA)—intended to give the United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) the power to regulate toxic chemicals—just doesn’t work.Since TSCA was passed in 1976, the EPA has required testing on just over 200 of the62,000 chemicals that were “grandfathered” in under the law. TSCA does not requirechemical companies to prove that the chemicals they make are safe before they endup in products. In fact, manufacturers are allowed to keep basic safety informationsecret—making it hard for the average consumer to make informed choices at thecheckout stand.Now, we have the chance to fix this problem—and to protect future generations fromserious harm. Bombarded with disturbing news stories and scientific studies, Americansfrom all walks of life have started to demand change. The time has come to ask Congressto reform TSCA—and start putting common sense limits on harmful chemicals. Growth in the Chemical Industry & Chronic Disease 120 Production Index (100 = year 2002) 100 80 60 40 20 0 1945 1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 Year
  • 2. How our lax chemical rules madeHurricane Katrina even worse American businesses are changing how they use chemicals STAPLES. Kaiser Permanente. Hewlett-Packard. Hospira. True Textiles. Catholic Healthcare West. Seventh Generation. Method. Businesses are redesigning their products and encouraging their suppliers to move away from the use of dangerous chemicals. “We’ve taken a cautious approach to materials, meaning that where there is credible evidence that a material we’re using may result in environmental or public health harm, we should strive to replaceFEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) supplied Hurricane it with safer alternatives.”Katrina survivors with trailers lined with plywood imported from China. —Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser PermanenteThe plywood was made with adhesives that release large amounts offormaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer, asthma attacks, andother breathing problems, and is suspected of harming the nervousand immune systems.Unlike the U.S., China, the European Union, and Japan have banned thetype of toxic plywood used in the FEMA trailers. China manufactures a “Made in USA shouldsafer, low-formaldehyde version to sell to those countries, but continues to be a guarantee, notmake the cheaper, high-formaldehyde version for sale in the U.S. Whenpetitioned to take action to control the problem, the EPA said it doesn’t a warning.”have the authority to act under TSCA. Michael Wright, United Steelworkers,Formaldehyde in FEMA trailers is but one example of the kind of quoting consumer advocatestories we will continue to hear unless the U.S. updates its policies Esther Petersonto keep our citizens safe and to promote the innovation and greenindustries we need to stay competitive in the global marketplace.Footnotes for this document are available at www.saferchemicals.org.Printed on 100% post-consumer, Process-Chlorine-Free paper with soy-based inks.Design: David Gerratt/DG Communications/NonprofitDesign.com
  • 3. How do we know that the Toxic Substances Control Act, our national chemical policy, needs to be fixed? Look at the numbers: Since 1976 when TSCA was passed, more than 80,000 different chemicals have been produced and used in the United States. In these 34 years, EPA has required testing on just over 200 of the 62,000 chemicals “grandfathered” in under the law. Only 5 chemicals have been restricted. EPA tried to use TSCA to restrict asbestos 19 years ago and failed. It hasn’t tried since. Science changes but regulations haven’t kept up: A BPA case study For 33 years, TSCA has stayed the same. But the science on how Scientific Articles that Reference BPA chemicals can cause harm has changed dramatically. Look at Bisphenol A: Ten years ago, there were very few studies on this chemical used to make baby bottles, plastic food and beverage150 containers, and the linings of canned food, paper receipts, and baby food jars. Over the last decade, an explosion of new research has linked BPA to cancer, heart disease, obesity, infertility, and hyperactivity. Motivated by public concern over this new science, states, cities, retailers, and manufacturers are doing what EPA can’t—taking action to protect us from this dangerous chemical.100 50 0 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 *2009 *Total as of July 2009
  • 4. What we want What People are SayingCongress can create the foundation for a sound and com- “Smarter regulations onprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and toxic chemicals will improvethe environment; we applaud the leadership of Senator Frank American health, lowerLautenberg and Representative Bobby Rush as Congress health care costs, and restorereforms TSCA. To be effective, TSCA reform must: confidence in American- made products.”1. Take immediate action on the most dangerous chemicals Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director Persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemicals build up in our bodies and threaten our health. Any such chemi- “I trusted that the govern- cal to which people could be exposed should be phased ment and its various agencies out of commerce. Exposure to other toxic chemicals that were going to keep our chil- we know can cause serious health problems, such as formal- dren safe. Boy, was I wrong.” dehyde, that have already been extensively studied should Douglas Abrams, California be reduced. Green chemistry research should be expanded, and safer chemicals favored over those with known health “The problem is what we hazards. don’t know we are being exposed to. It is time for us to2. Require basic information to identify come together and demand chemicals of concern that our health, our safety, Chemical manufacturers should be held responsible for the our environment comes first.” safety of their products and should be required to provide Kristen Hayes-Yearick, Pennsylvania full information on the health and environmental hazards associated with their chemicals, how they are used, and “Our children should not the ways that the public or workers could be exposed. The be used as guinea pigs. It’s public, workers, and businesses should have access to time to update the law to information about the safety of chemicals. protect them.” Senator Frank Lautenberg3. Use the best science to protect all people (D-NJ) and vulnerable groups Chemicals should meet a standard of safety for all people, “Congress needs to reform including children, pregnant women, and workers. The extra TSCA because, as you’ll dis- burden of toxic chemical exposure on people of color, low- cover when you take a look income, and indigenous communities must be reduced and at the ingredients lists in your more studies must be done to detect which chemicals are bathroom and kitchen cabi- present in our bodies. The EPA should adopt the recom- nets, you can’t shop your mendations of the National Academy of Sciences on how way out of exposure to toxic to better assess risks from chemicals. And regulators should chemicals, especially since expand the development and use of information gleaned manufacturers aren’t required from “biomonitoring,” the science of detecting human to tell you what’s in their products in the first place.” chemical contamination, to inform and motivate efforts Natieka Samuels, to reduce such exposures. Washington, D.C. Safer Chemicals Add your voice to the millions who are asking for Healthy Families common sense limits on toxic chemicals. Join us today!saferchemicals.org | facebook.com/saferchemicals | saferchemicals@saferchemicals.org
  • 5. Who we areSafer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a coalition of diverse Environmental Health Fundgroups united by their common concern about toxic chemicals Environmental Law and Policy Centerin our homes, places of work, and products we use every day. Greenpeace Jean Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures SocietyPublic Health Organizations Natural Resources Defense CouncilAsbestos Disease Awareness Organization North American Hazardous Materials ManagementBreast Cancer Fund AssociationCancer Center Prevention Los Angeles Pesticide Action Network of North AmericaEndometriosis Association of America Sierra Club National Toxics CommitteeInstitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Union of Concerned ScientistsMassachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition US Public Interest Research GroupNational Center for Environmental Health StrategiesNational Disease Clusters Alliance Environmental Justice OrganizationsNational Nail Salon Alliance Alaska Community Action on ToxicsNational Pediculosis Association Center For Health and Environmental JusticeRachel’s Friends Breast Cancer Coalition Connecticut Coalition for Environmental JusticeWomen’s Cancer Action Environmental Justice Advocates of MinnesotaWomen’s Community Cancer Project For a Better BronxWomen’s Health & Environmental Network Galveston Baykeeper GHASP/Mothers for Clean AirHealth Care Providers/Research Institutions Indigenous Environmental NetworkAlliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Just Transition AllianceAmerican Nurses Association The Just Green PartnershipDrGreene.com REACT – Rubbertown Emergency ACTionHealth Care Without Harm UPROSE (United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park)Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center Voices for Earth JusticeNurses for Global Health WE ACT for Environmental JusticePhysicians for Social ResponsibilityPhysicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles Parent OrganizationsPhysicians for Social Responsibility – Tampa Bay EcoMom AllianceScience and Environmental Health Network Healthy Child Healthy WorldWashington Physicians for Social Responsibility Healthy Family, Healthy WorldWashington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses Healthy Kids InfoWashington State Nurses Association Moms RisingYale School of Medicine, Environmental Health Group National Green Schools Coalition Parents for Nontoxic AlternativesLearning and Developmental Disabilities OrganizationsAmerican Association on Intellectual and Developmental Reproductive Health Organizations Disabilities Asian Communities for Reproductive JusticeAmerican Network of Community Options and Resources Association for Reproductive Health ProfessionalsAssociation for Children’s Mental Health Planned Parenthood Federation of AmericaThe Arc of Massachusetts National Asian Pacific American Women’s ForumThe Autism Society Reproductive Health Technologies ProjectDevelopmental Disabilities Nurses AssociationInstitute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders State Advocacy and Community OrganizationsLearning Disabilities Association of America Action for Children North Carolina (NC)Learning Disabilities Association of Maine Alaska Community Action on Toxics (AK)Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan’s Healthy Allergy Kids Foundation (CO) Children Project Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine (ME)Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont (VT)Learning Disabilities Association of New York State Alliance for Sustainability (MN)Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health Basel Action Network (WA) Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) (MA)National Environmental Organizations California Healthy Nail Salon Cooperative (CA)Center for International Environmental LawClean Water ActionCommonwealEarthJusticeEnvironmental Defense Fund Safer Chemicals Healthy Families
  • 6. Center for Environmental Health (CA) Women’s Environmental Institute (MN)Chehalis River Council (WA) Women’s Lobby of Colorado (CO)Clean New York (NY) Women’s Voices for the Earth (MT)Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut (CT) World Team Now (CA)Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (WA)Earthology Institute (WI) Businesses / AnalystsEarth Ministry (WA) Babies 411 LLCEarthrose Institute (FL) Buttercup Naturals LLCEast Michigan Environmental Action Council (MI) Carmichael LynchEcology Center (MI) Catholic Healthcare WestEnvironment California (CA) Chez Sven Bed & BreakfastEnvironment Illinois (IL) Clean Production ActionEnvironment Health Strategy Center (ME) Creative Health ConnectionsFamilies Against Cancer and Toxics (AZ) Dapple BabyFlorida Public Interest Research Group (FL) DriftAwaySoapGlynn Environmental Coalition (GA) Duck Duck GreenGreenCAPE (MA) EcoKlenzHilltown Anti-Herbicide Coalition (MA) Ely OrganicsIndiana Toxics Action Project (IN) Fezal Naturally LLCKentucky Environmental Foundation (KY) Fire Belly Lawn CareKids for Saving Earth (MN) Grace NaturalsLocalMotionGreen (MI) Green AgeLutheran Public Policy Office of Washington State (WA) Green DepotMaine Association of Certified Professional Midwives (ME) Green Maid, Inc.Maine League of Conservation Voters (ME) GreenSistah Eco ConsultantsMaine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (ME) Greener CountryMaine Parent Teacher Association (ME) The Green StorkMaine People’s Alliance (ME) Healthy Building NetworkMaine Women’s Lobby (ME) Healthy Planet FundraisingMaryland Public Interest Research Group (MD) Helping You Live a Toxin Free LifeMassachusetts Parent Teacher Association (MA) IceStone LLCMercury Awareness Team of Washington (WA) Informed Green Solutions, Inc.Michigan Environmental Council (MI) Laro BabyMinnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MN) Maid NaturallyMinnesota Pesticide Awareness (MN) Melaleuca – the Wilderness CompanyMinnesota Public Interest Research Group (MN) MyEARTH360.comNational Resources Council of Maine (ME) NaturepedicNeighbors for Clean Air (OH) Navan Foods: The Allergy Free Food ShopNew York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NY) New Harmony BoutiqueNorth Carolina Conservation Network (NC) Organic ValleyNorthwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (OR) PioMu Kids & ToysOlympic Environmental Council (WA) Q CollectionOregon Center for Environmental Health (OR) Quality of LifeOregon Environmental Council (OR) Seventh GenerationPAWS (WA) Simply Toddler LLCPreventing Harm Minnesota (MN) Smart Green Media LLCProjects for Environmental Health, Knowledge & Action, Inc. The Soft Landing LLC (NJ) SUSTProject Safeyard (C0) Sustain LARainier Audubon Society (WA) Sustainability AssociatesRiver Network (OR) Sound EarthSafer States Stonyfield FarmSeattle Tilth (WA) Toxic BabySierra Club Connecticut Chapter (CT) Toxic JusticeSustainable Sudbury (MA) Zoe OrganicsTake Back the Air (MN) 1-800-GO-VAPOR.comToxic Free North Carolina (NC)Toxics Action Center (MA)Washington Public Interest Research Group (WA)Washington Toxics Coalition (WA)Women for a Healthy Environment (PA) Safer Chemicals Healthy Families