Archive for the ‘Safe Chemicals Act’ Category

Updated Toxic Substances Control Act Back in Action

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


Lautenberg introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

Millions of parents around the U.S. are becoming aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes and in the environment. They’ve taken steps to eliminate them: They buy organic crib mattresses, outfit their baby’s nursery with non-toxic furniture and décor, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, wear clothing made with natural fibers, use air purifiers, eat organic food, and so on. But we’re all still waiting for the federal government to step up to the plate and update the Toxic Substances Control Act to help give us the protection we need.

Although the Toxic Substances Control Act has been on the books since 1976, the way it’s written makes it virtually impossible for anything to be done when goods made with toxic chemicals enter the marketplace. In fact, about 80,000 new chemicals have been created and introduced to our daily lives since 1976 and only about 200 have been tested for safety and only a handful have been restricted.

Last fall, an updated Toxic Substances Control Act was introduced to congress by New Jersey’s Senator Frank Lautenberg. Check out Sen. Lautenberg’s video about the bill. It did not pass at the time, but has just been reintroduced.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence linking toxic chemicals to health problems. Study results have been clear enough to warrant 18 states passing their own laws. Also, hundreds of thousands of businesses now offer non-toxic alternatives. Almost every major grocery store chain now carries non-toxic cleaning supplies, for example, and some corporations, like Walmart, have even taken it as far as banning products with specific, very commonly used but dangerous chemicals from their shelves.

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is just one group of supporters. It represents more than 70,000 businesses – Naturepedic is among them.

Our founder – also a grandfather, concerned citizen and environmental engineer – Barry A. Cik, was quoted by the ASBC in a recent news release:

“I saw Lake Erie die and then observed how the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 helped bring it back to life,” he said. “Our company was created to help stop the rampant misuse of chemicals. Naturepedic is determined to give babies and their families an alternative free of questionable chemicals. There are very few, if any, responsibilities that we have that are more important than providing a safe environment for our children. Naturepedic is asking Congress and the American public to level the playing field for businesses and make sure that all babies and children are provided with safe and healthy products free of questionable chemicals by passing this needed legislation.”

With 18 states having their own laws in place – although they don’t cover all the bases by a long shot – and hundreds of thousands of companies offering non-toxic goods, you can have a close to toxic-free household with little effort. But the new Toxic Substances Control Act will give us more choices and make it easier to get what we need to help ensure the health of our children, ourselves, and our environment.

To summarize the new law, called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, we would see the following changes:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain.

Any product containing chemicals and being introduced to the marketplace, or continuing to be available, would be required to first supply basic health and safety information.

Scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals would be upgraded to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences.

Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.

If you would like to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, call your congressman and let him know how you feel.

Some States Offer Protection Against Harmful Chemicals

Thursday, October 21st, 2010


If you live in New York state and are concerned about protecting your children, and yourself, from the potential toxic chemicals in household cleaning products, you’re going to have a helping hand from New York state government in the very near future.

Even though Federal law does not currently require companies to list their household or industrial cleaning product ingredients, individual states are free to make their own laws and set their own policies.

The state of New York, just one state that is taking action, has had a law on the books for nearly 40 years that requires household and industrial cleaners to provide “unusually detailed breakdowns, complete with percentages,” as well as any research the companies have done on the effects of the ingredients in their products on our health and the environment.

The law has never been enforced. But now, amid growing evidence of the potential health hazards of some of the chemicals used to make these products, and under pressure from consumer groups, New York will finally enforce the law.

The American Cleaning Institute, known until June as the Soap and Detergent Association, says research linking cleaning product ingredients to various health problems – including asthma, antibiotic resistance, and hormone changes – is flawed and the products are safe if used correctly. They also say that the products encourage human health by inhibiting the spread of disease.

But, as we know, there are plenty of non-toxic cleaning products available; and even things as simple as baking soda and vinegar will help prevent the spread of disease.

Some companies are very cooperative, even going as far as listing the chemical contents of fragrances and dyes, which is very unusual. Others feel that disclosing information in that detail risks giving away trade secrets.

Find out more about New York’s plans at NY to Seek Info On Cleanser Contents. Also, New York is not the only state taking action. Find out more about what’s going on in your state on the Safer States website.

Are Antibacterial Socks, Shoes and Underwear Safe for Your Kids?

Monday, October 18th, 2010


It is understandable that parents would want to keep their kids away from fungus, germs, and other bacteria. Consequently, it’s no surprise that we can now buy such things as anti-bacterial socks, shoes and underwear for our kids. But are these products safe? In fact, some of the antibacterial materials used in these products are under investigation by the FDA and EPA.

There are many natural ways to remove or inhibit the growth of fungus and bacteria – baking soda, certain essential oils, and so on. But many of the products contain something called Microban®, of which one of the ingredients is triclosan.

We wrote about Triclosan in a blog not too long ago – see Germs or Toxic Chemicals – Do We Really Have to Make that Choice? – but, at the time, didn’t realize that triclosan was also in Microban.

The FDA approved triclosan for use – but that was 30 years ago. Since that time, studies have linked triclosan to cancer, hormonal disruption, including thyroid conditions, liver problems, allergies, and more.

Triclosan – largely known as an ingredient in cosmetics, soaps, body washes and other personal care products – is now on the EPA’s Chemicals of Concern list and under investigation. How long it will be legal is up in the air. Rumor has it the results of the investigation were supposed to be available this fall but, so far, they haven’t been released.

We can assume that if triclosan is banned, Microban might be on the way out, too.

Read more about Microban and triclosan in Is the Chemical Triclosan in Your Socks?

Parents, in the meantime, would be wise to stay away from Microban products until the jury has returned its verdict.

Of course, there is no shortage of socks, shoes, underwear, and so on that pose no risk whatsoever! They don’t contain these potentially dangerous chemicals. Generally, these are natural cotton, wool, silk and other natural materials. However, there are some products that may say ‘naturally antimicrobial’ on the label because they fight germs with natural substances inherent it the materials. If there is any question about what chemicals or substances are used, contact the manufacturer.

New Toxic Chemicals Act Didn’t Pass in Congress – But Don’t Give Up!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010


For parents and others concerned about the toxic chemical ingredients and materials in products we use every day, the new Toxic Substances Control Act not getting enacted in Congress is quite a disappointment (read more at Reform of Toxic Chemicals Law Collapses as Industry Flexes Its Muscles). Discouraging as it may be, the real truth is this: no matter who flexes their muscles, we, each of us, are still in control. And there is hope on the horizon.

The bill, as it was worded, had the potential for real protection – one provision of the bill, for example, was that companies would be made responsible for ensuring that the chemicals they use in their products aren’t harmful. A very big change from the way things have been done, and that’s only one section of the bill.

The bill will be re-worked and presented again, and change will happen. The many individuals and groups, too numerous to mention, who have worked so long and hard on getting things this far will continue, along with others who join the ranks, and there will be progress.

But government tends to change slowly and, for now, we’re still on our own. It’s not illegal to give consumers toxic chemicals and that’s unlikely to change in the near future. So, we’re still living our lives with ‘buyer beware’ as our mantra and we have to be vigilant.

In all truth, we can live and consume safely. There are hundreds or thousands of companies that choose not to use toxic chemicals in the materials, manufacturing and finishing of their goods.

At Naturepedic, for example, we choose to make crib mattresses and other goods without toxic chemicals. We founded the company with that purpose in mind and we will continue to fulfill that purpose. That is what parents want, and that’s not going to change.

Companies that have that purpose will continue to thrive, more will start up, and still others will adopt that purpose. Eventually, the government will catch up. And industry will get the idea that toxic chemicals are just not acceptable.

Sometimes things have to be done over and over again in order to create change – don’t be discouraged. It will happen.

In the meantime, check sites like Debra’s List to find companies that are dedicated to providing non-toxic products.

Educating Family and Friends on Protecting Children from Chemicals

Saturday, August 28th, 2010


We’re pretty lucky here at Naturepedic – everyone is on the same page. We want all children to have a healthy sleep and our organic cotton crib mattresses provide a way to accomplish that goal. But some people, you may be one of them, are surrounded with others who don’t understand the importance of living a toxic chemical-free life.

If you’re looking for a way to spread the word, to educate friends and family about the danger of toxic chemicals and what can be done about it, you might want to start with this new video from Healthy Child Healthy World.

You can direct people you would like to educate to this blog to see the video, or send them right to Healthy Child Healthy World. If you have your own website or blog, you can even display the video yourself. Just click ‘Share’ and follow the instructions. This could be just what you need to start the ball rolling!

You Can Help Make Crib Mattresses Safe for Every Child, Including Your Own

Monday, August 23rd, 2010


moms can help babies sleep on safe crib mattressesOur founder, Barry Cik, recently had an article published in greenbiz.com. Chemical Regulations and the Modern Mattress: The Stuff of Nightmares.

Barry hadn’t intended to start a company that makes crib mattresses. But six years ago, when he went shopping to find a crib mattress for his first grandchild, he was appalled at the toxic chemicals in the mattresses he found. And as an environmental engineer, he really understood the risks.

“My grandfather slept on straw. I’ll have my grandchildren sleep on straw before I let them sleep on these mattresses,” he told a salesperson.

And, so, Naturepedic began.

“I know from experience that once people realize that their kids’ beds, mattresses, toys and bottles may contain toxic chemicals, they start reading labels and put their trust in brands that can demonstrate safety,” said Barry. “But not everyone can afford to act on this knowledge. Consider families living paycheck to paycheck that can’t always afford to buy the least toxic choice. Our next challenge is to turn frustrated consumers into vocal citizens who will support Congress in making non-toxic the norm, not a market niche.”

If you would like to become a vocal citizen and protect kids from toxic chemicals, consider joining the 100,000+ people who have signed the Environmental Working Group’s petition to demand that Congress take action to make chemicals in consumer products kid-safe.

And to find out more about Naturepedic crib mattresses, the mattresses Barry made for his grandchildren that are now available for your family, check out our website.

New Safe Chemicals Act Shifts Accountability and Burden of Proof to Industry

Sunday, April 18th, 2010


Many people have complained about needing a degree in chemistry to understand which products are safe and which are not. New Safe Chemicals Act may enable the protection we need.

In February we wrote a blog about The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act, a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. See Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk. The tireless efforts of many people have finally paid off – landmark legislation that completely overhauls the broken system used by government to protect us from toxic chemicals has been introduced in Congress.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Congressmen Bobby Rush (D-IL) and
Henry Waxman (D-CA) are the authors of the new Safe Chemicals Act, formerly known as the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act.

Here are some of the highlights to give you an idea of what the new law would do:

– (Finally) empower the EPA to regulate toxic chemicals, and act quickly when necessary.

– Ensure the EPA is provided with sufficient information to evaluate the safety of a chemical.

– Establish new research programs to help us understand the risk toxic industrial chemicals pose to children, ourselves, and the environment.

– Force industry to prove their products are safe, both those already on the market and those they introduce in the future. Formerly, the burden of proof was the responsibility of the EPA, which didn’t have the power, information or funding needed to fulfill the obligation.

– Provide the public with transparent and adequate information to make their own judgments and decisions.

– and more.

The Safe Chemicals Act will “breathe new life into a long-dead statute by empowering EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals,” said Senator Lautenberg.

And that’s exactly what we need to protect ourselves, our children, and our environment.

If you would like to read the bill in its entirety, it’s available here.

Stay tuned for updates!