Put Sensible Limits on Chemicals

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BornFree glass baby bottles are seen on display in the foreground as a mother shops at Babies'R'Us, Tuesday, March 11, 2008 in Peabody, Mass. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)

BornFree glass baby bottles are seen on display in the foreground as a mother shops at Babies”R”Us in Peabody, Mass. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)

Sandra Steingraber is a biologist and cancer survivor who writes about the dangers of environmental toxins and the lack of testing currently required of synthetic chemicals. She tells Bill that only 200 of the more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals used in the United States have been tested.

What’s more, exactly none of them are regulated on the basis of their potential to affect infant or child development.

Show your support for common sense limits on potentially dangerous chemicals by participating in Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families’ Mind the Store campaign. You can sign a petition asking ten major retailers (including Costco, Target and Walmart) to get tough on a list of 100 chemicals, including formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, BPA and flame retardants, that are found in everyday consumer products on their shelves.

'The Story of Cosmetics' by The Story of Stuff Project
Participate in the campaign for safe cosmetics by telling your representative that you want the FDA to force companies to phase out cancer-causing and other harmful chemicals from personal care products. You can track the progress of The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 at GovTrack.us. “Consumers think the Food and Drug Administration is a watchdog preventing harmful ingredients from being in their shampoos, cologne, makeup, deodorants, lotions and other products, but the truth is, the FDA has little power under current law,” says bill sponsor Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

You can also call your senator about The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which was introduced last week in Congress. The bill would strengthen the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act by establishing health standards for chemicals that would protect children and other vulnerable groups, and place the burden on the chemical industry to prove that their products are safe. Supporters say the bill will likely emerge from committee this summer — and hopefully go to a vote from there.

Some highlights of the bill:

  • Require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals.
  • Require basic health and safety information for chemicals as a condition for entering or remaining on the market.
  • Upgrade scientific methods for assessing chemical safety.
  • Arm the EPA with the authority it needs to restrict chemicals that pose health and environmental concerns.

Nearly two dozen Democratic senators have pledged their support, but the chemical industry and a number of Republicans oppose the bill, saying that the EPA already has enough power to regulate chemicals in consumer products. According to an editorial published this week in The New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the bill on Wednesday.

Read a summary of the bill on co-sponsor Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s website.

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