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Keep Strong on Safer Products

We need your help 6a0105364cefdf970b017c318ff6a3970b-800wi today to make sure California's landmark program for safer products is kept strong. It looks like negotiations have been reopened on a number of critical points, which could fundamentally weaken the program.

Please send a letter to Governor Brown and DTSC Director Debbie Raphael right now!


In 2008, California passed a law mandating a new approach to regulating toxic chemicals in consumer products, which is now known as the Safer Consumer Products Program.

Posted on Dec 20, 2012

BPA In Paper Money

BPAmoney It turns out that the cash in your wallet may be contaminated with the dangerous chemical BPA.  A recent study by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and the Washington Toxics Coalition found that BPA (a widely used chemical that causes genetic damage, miscarriages, birth defects and acts like a hormone) is present in paper money.  Water bottles, baby bottles and sippy cups just a few years ago were almost all made from BPA-containing plastic (although many are now BPA-free). The linings in food cans often contain BPA.  Now we have to deal with BPA contamination in an item that we literally touch multiple times a day.

Posted on Dec 9, 2010 | Comments (0)

Phthalates Make Plastic Soft...and Dangerous

Phthalate blog In the eighth story of our ongoing series, "Independence from Toxic Chemicals," Pam Palitz describes the danger of phthalates in our everyday products 

When I first started working in the environmental health field, I had a mantra: “BPA makes plastic hard, phthalates make plastic soft.” Baby bottles … hard. Rubber duckies … soft.  It’s so important for an environmental health advocate to keep her endocrine disruptors straight.

Posted on Nov 11, 2010 | Comments (0)

Easy as Cupcake: Get Cadmium out of Kids' Jewelry


In the seventh story of our ongoing series, "Independence from Toxic Chemicals," Ryan Berghoff reports on why California should get the Cadmium out of children's jewelry.

Senator Fran Pavley’s bill, SB 929, which  sets strict limits on the use of cadmium in children’s jewelry, recently passed the California Senate with a large majority vote (26-10) and is now on its way to the governor for his signature. At the present time, federal law restricts cadmium, a known carcinogen, only in painted toys. There are currently no restrictions on the use of cadmium in children’s jewelry, and recent reports show that some jewelry has high concentrations of cadmium. 

Posted on Aug 27, 2010 | Comments (1)

California: The Leader in Lead Regulation

Lead girl
In the sixth story of our ongoing series, "Independence from Toxic Chemicals," Ryan Berghoff and Christina Medina describe the history of lead regulation in California

Lead is one of the most infamous and ubiquitous toxic heavy metals--it was even honored with  the prestigious “Toxie” award for Lifetime Achievement in Harm. It has been linked to infertility in women, increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, as well as neurological and developmental problems in children.  Take a look at our post on California’s Prop 65 to see some of the unexpected places we’ve found lead. Who’d ever think that diaper rash cream, lunch boxes and electronic cords could have so much in common!

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 | Comments (1)

Do dolphins use soap?

Do dolphins use soap?Alarming discovery of antibacterial agent in wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins shows need for improved chemical policy

An antibacterial agent commonly used in personal and household products has been found in bottlenose dolphins off the South East coast of the United States. Triclosan, which is commonly added to soaps, toothpastes, deodorants and other personal care products, as well as consumer products like socks, cutting boards, and garbage bags to help control bacteria, entered the waters through household sink wastewater.

Researchers report that this is the first time that a marine mammal is accumulating triclosan from water bodies where treated sewage is released. The study examined animals from rivers, an estuary, a harbor and a lagoon in South Carolina and Florida.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009

California Senate Passes Ban on BPA

  Plastic Baby Bottle

With a vote of 21-16, the California State Senate approved a ban on the use of a chemical in food and beverage containers that scientists say can harm childhood development.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that was developed in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen. It was soon supplanted by another estrogen, DES, but then someone discovered that it could be the building block of polycarbonate plastic. Companies started using it in baby bottles, water bottles, teething rings, food can linings, dental sealants, epoxy resins, CDs, eyeglass lenses, carbonless ink & many other things.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 | Comments (0)

EPA Monitors Air Outside 4 California Schools for Toxics

Boy_schoolbus_250 In an unprecedented effort to help protect children from toxic air pollution around schools, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a list of schools, including four in California, that will undergo outdoor air monitoring. On March 31, 2009, EPA released a list of priority schools for air quality monitoring, as part of an initiative to understand whether outdoor toxic air pollution poses health concerns to schoolchildren.

The initial monitoring will take place at 62 schools in 22 states. As efforts to better regulate chemicals both in California and across the country move forward, this information will be critical in helping communities better understand the chemicals that children are exposed to when they go to school.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 | Comments (1)

New Study Finds Phthalates in Pregnant Women Harms Babies

Phthalates & WomenA new study by researchers in Taiwan reveals that phthalates in pregnant women can damage the reproductive development in their daughters. Phthalates are organic chemicals produced from oil and are the most commonly used plasticizers in the world. (Source: http://www.phthalates.com/ index.asp?page=4) Other studies have found that phthalates can also damage the liver, kidneys, and lungs. California became the first state in the nation to ban phthalates and other toxic substances in toys in October 2007.

AB 1108, authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007, took effect January 1st 2009.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 | Comments (0)

Study finds Chemical Risks in Your Home

Chemicals in Your HomeA recent study suggests we have much to learn about our exposure to pollution. While most people assume our biggest pollution threat comes from outside sources, the cause may actually be closer to home. Many seemingly safe household products contain chemicals that have been shown to cause health problems. These household products range from plastics, detergents, and pesticides to children's toys and common cosmetics.

The study, conducted by the Silent Spring Institute, measured chemical concentration in the bodies and homes of 120 subjects. The chemicals tested have been identified as compounds which mimic and disrupt hormone function. On average, 20 chemicals were found in each household.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 | Comments (0)