Chemicals, Week 25 2009
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In the News
>>BPA linked to heart arrhythmia and female infertility - New animal study links Bisphenol A (aka BPA) to more health problems. BPA is the basic building block of polycarbonate plastics...Via Science News
>>Consumers instantly recognize them as household miracles of modern chemistry- Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, Gore-Tex - But PFC's are now found to be toxic and a risk to humans and other living creatures.
>>Scientists Find 'Baffling' Link between Autism and Vinyl Flooring - "Children who live in homes with vinyl floors, which can emit chemicals called phthalates, are more likely to have autism, according to research by Swedish and U.S. scientists published Monday."
>>Flame Retardant Chemicals Taint all U.S. Waters - Chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products since the 1970s now are found in all U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Via ENN
>>Shampoo in the Water Supply Triggers Growth of Deadly Drug-Resistant Bugs - A New study from the UK has found sludge containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria whose growth is triggered by chemicals in detergent. Via ENN
>>Study Links Stranded Marine Mammals to Environmental Toxins - A recent study found high levels of man-made chemicals in Marine Mammals. These chemicals are linked to disruptions to the nervous systems of these mammals. Via Cape Cod Times
>>No More Toxic Tub- Getting Contaminants Out of Children's Bath & Personal Care Products by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - Despite marketing claims like “gentle” and “pure,” dozens of top-selling children’s bath products are contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. See a list of the 48 products tested.
>>Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With Mercury, New Study Finds - Via the Organic Consumers Association.
>>California officials launch 'Green Chemistry' initiative - The plan would inform consumers how items sold in the state are manufactured and transported and how environmentally safe their ingredients are. Via LA Times.
>>Follow-Up Tests of Leading Personal Care and Household Cleaning Brands Reveal Improvements in Levels of Carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane - 3/6/2009 ANAHEIM, CA - a new follow-up study was released that assesses levels of the petrochemical carcinogen 1,4-dioxane in leading conventional as well as "natural" and "organic" brands of personal care and household cleaning products. The results indicate significant improvement for 23 products from sixteen major brands that had formerly been found to contain potentially dangerous levels of the contaminant 1,4-dioxane in a similar study held in March of 2008. Click here to download a PDF of the new results. Via Organic Consumers Association.
>>Carcinogenic 1,4-Dioxane Found in Leading "Organic" Brand Personal Care Products - Press release regarding a study commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) analyzes leading "natural" and "organic" brand shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care products for the presence of the undisclosed carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane.
>>Toxic toys - PBS web video documenting the Phthalates issue as an example of the safer EU standards versus the more dangerous US standards.
>>Common Chemicals Are Linked to Breast Cancer - LA Times article. Researchers concluded that reducing exposure to the compounds could prevent many women from developing the disease.
Hygiene Products, Cosmetic Safety and Chemical Regulations
>>Skin Deep - Take a look at the best resource available for finding out the safety of your daily hygiene products. The Environmental Working Group, who put together the Skin Deep website, is a terrific resource for information regarding environmental health.
>>Chemicals In The Home - NPR's interactive guide highlighting some differences between EU and US chemical regulations. Via NPR.
EcoHome: Safer Home Cleaning & Repair Products, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
>>Consumer Reports' GreenerChoices.org lists several simple recipes for making cleaners at home using familiar household ingredients. See all the recipes.
>>Alternative Household Product Recipes (PDF)- from 888CleanLA
>>I Don't Want to Scrub - A test of eight green bathroom cleaning products from Grist.org
>>Arm & Hammer Essentials - check out Arm & Hammers newest line of products. They used phosphate free, biodegradable ingredients and come in concentrated bottles which means less packaging and less transportation cost and pollution.
>>Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC) - They specialize in finding non-toxic and least-toxic, integrated pest management (IPM) solutions to urban and agricultural pest problems.
>>Eco Painting Tips - Visit living expert Danny Seo's blog to learn about eco-friendly painting tips from biodegradable drop cloths to zero-VOC paints.
>>1,4-Dioxane Alert with full product testing results (PDF) - learn which brands and products were found to contain high levels of 1,4 Dioxane.
>>1,4-Dioxane Fact Sheet (PDF) - Learn the facts about the toxicity of 1,4-Dioxane.
>>PVC Poison Plastic - Learn about the dangers of PVC and it's hazardous life cycle, from manufacturing to disposal.
>>Company PVC Policies - List of Companies Phasing out PVC
>>Via Organic Consumers Association
*MYTH - Cosmetics are carefully regulated by the FDA
*FACTS -The FDA does not conduct or require independent pre-market safety testing of new products or chemicals. The cosmetics and personal care products industry must provide its own safety testing.
*Companies are allowed to provide data to the FDA regarding the safety of their own product ingredients by funding scientific review boards comprised of doctors and toxicologists which they select. In this way, companies seeking to profit from products may influence the selection of study results submitted to the FDA submits.
*Once a product is on the market, the burden of legal proof required for its removal is extremely high.
*Since cancer and birth defects are often latent occurrences, it is difficult if not impossible to prove causation in the judicial system. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to remove a potentially dangerous product.
Documentaries on CHEMICALS
>>Blue Vinyl - A Toxic Comedy Look at Vinyl, The World's Second Largest Selling Plastic.With humor, hope and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel from Helfand’s hometown to America’s vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of answers about the nature of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Literature addressing CHEMICAL issues
>>Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power by Mark Schapiro - about the book from Center for Investigative Reporting.
>>Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan - Do your favorite products contain hazardous chemicals?
>>Silent Sprint by Rachel Carson - released in 1962, offered the first shattering look at widespread ecological degradation and touched off an environmental awareness that still exists. Rachel Carson's book focused on the poisons from insecticides, weed killers, and other common products as well as the use of sprays in agriculture, a practice that led to dangerous chemicals to the food source.