Posts Tagged ‘Toxic Substances Control Act’

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.

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.

Check out Safer Chemicals Healthy Families’ New Video – By Moms, For Moms

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, an organization dedicated to ensuring new safety standards for chemicals are established and met, has released a video made by Moms, for Moms to help educate families and organizations on the dangers of toxic chemicals. It’s called Moms Take Action Against Toxic Chemicals, and is available by following the link.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is a coalition representing more than 11 million people in the U.S. including parents, health professionals, advocates for people with learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesses.

They provide a wealth of information and are working to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Act was written in 1976 and has not changed since that time despite growing evidence of the link between toxic chemicals and health. Chemicals have been linked to everything from diabetes to learning disabilities.

Naturepedic is also a member of the coalition. Our organic crib mattresses are designed to help prevent exposure to toxic chemicals, but we would like to see everyone, not just babies, living safer lives.

Check out the video and, while you’re on the site, also check the list of participating organizations. You may find quite a few in there that would help you find the resources you need to further your personal quest and answer your questions!

This Earth Day Celebrates a Major Accomplishment

Saturday, April 24th, 2010


Earth Day was officially on 22 April, but in many communities and countries around the world it’s celebrated for the entire week or month. Earth Day was founded 40 years ago by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. His goal was to create a grassroots movement that would show the government just how concerned Americans were about the environment and get laws enacted that would enforce protection of the earth and its inhabitants – us.

By the end of that year, in December 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors. A very good start.

Since that time, there have been many years when there has been little to celebrate. Although there has been continual progress, including some milestones, there have also been pretty serious setbacks. For example, of the 80,000 chemicals that have been produced and used in the U.S. since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

But in the last year, the EPA has undergone some equally serious reform. Finally, the agency is really buckling down on toxic chemicals, both in the environment and in consumer goods.

There is special attention on children, as it should be. Children are most susceptible to toxic chemicals because their bodies are still growing. In the not too distant future, it is our children and grandchildren, the little ones asleep in their cribs right now, who will lead the way in politics, as teachers, as firefighters, artists, business owners and so on, and so on.

To do their jobs well, to achieve their goals and have a satisfying, happy and productive life, they need to be healthy.

At Naturepedic, we celebrate Earth Day every day. We give children a healthy start in life by manufacturing our award-winning organic baby crib mattresses that are certified by GREENGUARD and enjoy the unique distinction of being the only crib mattress recommended by Healthy Child Healthy World.

Do you have a Naturepedic mattress for your infant or toddler? If not, you might want to celebrate Earth Day/Week/Month by checking them out at http://www.Naturepedic.com.

You can also celebrate Earth Day by working on creating a personal environment that is more chemical-free. It really doesn’t take much to get a good start. Read Going Green in 2010 – A Few Simple Things With A Big Impact for some helpful hints that make a real difference.

Start now, and next year your family will also have even more to celebrate on Earth Day!

Toxic Chemicals Are Putting Your Children at Risk

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Check out the startling details in a new health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families.

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

Read The Health Case for Reforming The Toxic Substances Control Act

The results of a compilation and analysis of 30 years of environment studies, recently published as a health report from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, revealed startling details about the increase in disease in the U.S. over the last 35 years, and the link to toxic chemicals.

Here are some of the statistics from the report:

  • Leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, have increased by more than 20% since 1975.
  • Breast cancer went up by 40% between 1973 and 1998 and, while breast cancer rates have declined since 2003, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight, up from one in ten in 1973.
  • The incidence of asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995 and has stayed at the elevated rate.
  • Difficulty in conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy affected 40% more women in 2002 than in 1982. For woman aged 18 – 25, the incidence of reported difficulty has almost doubled.
  • The birth defect resulting in undescended testes increased 200% between 1970 and 1993.
  • Diagnosed autism has increased more than 10 times in the last 15 years.

According to the report, there is a growing consensus that chemicals are playing a role in the incidence and prevalence of these diseases.

The birth defect resulting in undescended testes, for example, as well as other hormonal problems with young boys, could be the result of exposure to phthalates – the plasticizer chemicals used to soften PVC/Vinyl so it can be used as a waterproof covering in crib mattresses – which is one of the reasons three phthalates were banned in baby mattresses and other kids products. One study even found that the school-age boys of women who tested positive for phthalates in their urine while pregnant played in ways that were not typical of young boys – no trucks, rough housing, and so on.

What’s being done about the chemical problem?

Although the EPA has admitted they’ve failed to protect the public from the dangers of toxic chemicals, and is currently making changes, the track record is abysmal: Since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted 34 years ago, only 200 of the 80,000 chemicals that have since been produced and used in the U.S. have been tested by the EPA, and only five have been regulated.

Health care reform is currently the subject of intense controversy. But real reform will come when we start getting rid of the chemicals suspected of exacerbating, if not causing, illness.

Chemical policy reform would also free up a lot of health care dollars: If reducing exposure to chemicals resulted in healthier people, it would only take one tenth of one percent in health savings to free up $5 billion every year.

Read more details in the report, The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families also has a campaign to help eliminate toxic chemicals. There are many facets to their campaign, including Parents for Non-Toxic Alternatives and several others directly concerned with toxic chemicals and the relationship to child safety. Check them out, you may want to become involved.

If you’re concerned about your child’s safety and want to do something about it right now, consider getting a Naturepedic toddler or crib mattress, along with our safe child and baby bedding and pillows. Also, check out the book Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd for thousands of safe alternatives for just about every chemical in your household.

Chemicals in Crib Mattresses to be Reviewed by EPA

Friday, October 2nd, 2009


epasealLate in September, Obama asked Congress to draft a tougher law to regulate chemicals. The current law, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is woefully inadequate: There are literally tens of thousands of chemicals being used that have never been tested and found safe. And some are in our children’s crib mattresses and other goods they come into contact with everyday.

What’s wrong with the current law? Just a couple of the highlights:

  • Chemical manufacturers are not required to give the EPA the information needed to determine whether a chemical is safe – the burden of proof is on the EPA.
  • Some health and safety information is suspected of being unjustifiably classified as Confidential Business Information (CBI) and is thereby protected from the pubic eye.

Read the principles congress was given as guidelines for the new law and you’ll get a good idea of why the current law doesn’t work well.

On an immediate basis the EPA will review six controversial chemicals, including phthalates. Three of the seven phthalates were recently banned in some children’s goods, including crib mattresses and some toys. We hope the remaining four will be included in the imminent review.

In case you don’t know, phthalates are chemicals used to make PVC/Vinyl more pliable so it can be used to make children’s toys, the waterproof covering on most crib mattresses, and many other goods.

Naturepedic mattresses do not contain phthalates–they never have and never will. Our waterproof covering is made from food-grade polyethylene.

The EPA is supposed to release their first plan of action to deal with these chemicals in December. We’ll keep you updated.