Keeping a watchful eye on toxic chemicals and healthy solutions
Welcome to the ToxicsWAtch Blog! Here you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about the latest science on toxic chemicals, tips for finding safer products, and what you can do to help win policies to protect health and environment from harmful chemicals.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration has unveiled a draft outline of legislation this week that could bring regulating toxic chemicals in Washington state under the umbrella of the Department of Ecology — away from the Legislature’s purview — and could spell far-reaching implications for manufacturers and industries.
Growing up in rural Louisiana in the middle of a cotton field, I used to love to watch the crop-dusting aerobatics of the small planes as they sprayed pesticides mere feet from my backyard fence. As a child, it never dawned on me that my health and safety were being compromised by the very government I thought was in place to protect me.
When San Francisco firefighters rush out the firehouse doors, sirens screeching on the way to fight fires, they put their lives on the line in more ways than one. In responding to roughly 28,000 fire calls a year, members of the San Francisco Fire Department are routinely exposed to flame retardants, diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals that seep out of raging infernos and work their way into the air.
A chemical flame retardant, banned in certain products in Washington state, is showing up in the environment, years later, in alarming levels. Scientists studied the livers of 21 bald and golden eagles collected from Washington and Idaho and found polybrominated diphenyl ethers, known as PBDEs. Higher levels of the toxic compound were found in samples of eagles from urban areas.
Tis the season, but not what you’re thinking. It’s Election Day and we have all experienced the non-stop political ads, candidate info stuffing our mailboxes and those phone calls from numbers we don’t recognize, reminding us to vote and telling us for whom to vote for many weeks now. Regardless of what happens in this mid-term election we know a couple of things -- Latinos, while the fastest growing minority group in our state, should expect to be heavily courted by office-seekers, but more often than not are overlooked. And while candidates try to court the female vote, they are often one-note singers.
If there is one thing no one wants with their Halloween costume, it’s toxic chemicals. But that may very well be the case according to the results of our new HealthyStuff.org study of 106 common Halloween related products purchased from retailers including CVS, Kroger, Party City, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. The products were tested for chemicals based on their toxicity or tendency to build up in people and the environment. These chemicals include lead, bromine (brominated flame retardants), chlorine (vinyl/PVC plastic), phthalates, cadmium, arsenic, tin (organotins), and mercury.
Election season can be overwhelming -- lots of phone calls, slick mail pieces and those television commercials. How's a voter supposed to sift through all of the noise to make an informed choice? Seattle CityClub has developed a tool for voters looking for information to find it from other voters -- and add their own opinions as well.
We talk a lot about toxic flame retardants at Washington Toxics Coalition. A lot. But that’s because there’s alot to say about the harm they pose to our health. Today, we released a first-of-its kind, peer-reviewed study that brings a whole new meaning to “dirty laundry.” Flame retardants that cause cancer, learning disabilities and other problems literally attach to our clothing and wind up going down the drain when we do the wash.
Choosing safer school supplies is as easy as 1-2-3! First, reuse what you can from last year. Next, read on for healthier alternatives. Last, work with your school to develop safer options for next year, especially for items such as markers that require collaboration with the school.
Usually we’re frustrated with what seems like persistent inaction in Congress, but this time we’re feeling encouraged
Remember this spring when we were raising a ruckus about the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA), a draft bill that was before the House Energy & Commerce Committee? Well it’s dead. For Now. And we have you to thank! Because of your emails, ultrasound photos, family pictures and calls we helped stop this bad bill in its tracks. D.C. insiders told us this was impossible. We proved them wrong.
Imagine a group of chemicals so toxic, so detrimental to human health they could be linked to cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive issues, and endocrine disruption. Not only that, but the chemicals in question build up in the body and can be passed on to developing embryos. And if that weren’t bad enough, they stick around in the environment, effecting wildlife and water, which then impacts our food supply.
This week Washington Toxics Coalition joins concerned parents and health advocates from around the U.S. to ask Walgreens to take strong steps toward selling safer products. Together we are holding a "Week of Action." and ask you to call on Walgreens to be a leader in getting toxics out of personal care products
Most of Aimee Robinson's customers are moms. And more of them are starting to ask questions about the contents of the couches and chairs she constructs. "I get moms crying on the phone," said Robinson, owner of the green furniture company EcoBalanza. "Their main concern is protecting their loved ones from exposure to toxic chemicals."
The award-winning HBO documentary Toxic Hot Seat is touring Washington for the remainder of 2014. Want to bring it to your neighborhood? Our power is in our people. Educate and empower your community to call on the state legislature to ban toxic flame retardants in children's products and home furnishings by bringing Toxic Hot Seat - the Washington Tour to you.
I have watched the attempt to reform toxic chemical law in Congress with growing alarm. What started out as an important effort to protect people from toxics has turned into a giveaway to the chemical industry. Americans could end up with weaker safeguards and greater exposure to dangerous chemicals.
This week, concerned parents and health advocates from around the U.S. are turning out at Walgreens stores and going online as part of a national Mind the Store “Week of Action” to ask the large pharmacy chain to take strong steps toward selling safer products. This follows our April 16th day of action where concerned parents and advocates across the country held events at over 60 Walgreens stores nationwide.
Rep. Ross Hunter's (D-48) commitment to reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals didn't stop when he successfully passed a bill to ban PBDE flame retardants, which then led to a national ban. Now he's spreading the word that the Chemicals in Commerce Act, currently in the House Energy & Commerce committee, is bad public policy, which will adversely impact our state and the country.
Concerned about increasing levels of potentially harmful chemicals in the environment, Kaiser Permanente announced Tuesday that it will stop purchasing furniture treated with flame retardants. Kaiser Permanente is the first health system in the country to do this. The decision could impact more than 38 hospitals and 600 medical offices in eight states and the District of Columbia.
There's a reason the American Chemistry Council could barely contain their exuberance during a recent hearing on the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA).
Are you willing to leave it to the federal government to protect you and your family? Washington state has been a leader in protecting kids and the environment from harmful chemicals such as lead, BPA and toxic flame retardants.
Running TOWARD a burning building is in the job description. Danger is a daily part of life for a firefighter.What wasn't in the job description for Lt. Adam Lamb was throat cancer. "He sticks the needle in there, pulls it out, five minutes later he says you have a squamous cell carcinoma in your neck, you have cancer,” said Lamb. Lamb would endure 38 weeks of radiation and chemo. "I'm one of those people for me everything's positive and uh… I lost that for awhile and it was dark,” he said.