Toxic flame retardant chemicals are saturated in the foam inside our furniture. These chemicals are linked to serious health effects and are worthless in preventing furniture fires. We need better regulation of these chemicals to address this problem. If you agree, take action.
How Does the FDA Know What Is Safe to Eat or Buy If It Doesn’t Define Safe? More than 90 percent of Americans carry residues of the chemical BPA in our bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. We encounter the chemical through every day products such as plastic water bottles, canned food, and ATM receipts, and this steady exposure poses significant risks. Independent scientific studies show that BPA interferes with estrogen and alters the development of the brain, prostate, and breast tissue. The evidence is so strong that 11 states have begun to regulate BPA.
The Food and Drug Administration, however, has delayed taking action on BPA for more than five years—effectively leaving consumers to believe it is safe. Yet when public health organizations ask the agency to explain why it hasn’t protected Americans from this harmful chemical, the FDA stonewalls. NRDC recently had to sue the FDA just to make it comply with our Freedom of Information Act request for material on the agency’s BPA review.
It shouldn’t take a lawsuit for the public to find out what government officials think about health risks posed by consumer products. But as detailed in an exposé by Barry Estabrook in the latest edition of NRDC’s OnEarth Magazine, the agency repeatedly fails to protect Americans from known hazards. Not only does it discount the weight of scientific evidence on issues ranging from antibiotic use to raise livestock to mercury contamination in seafood. But it also has refuses to share how it determines something is free of harm. Read more.
Ever wondered what chemicals might lurk in your couch? Sarah Janssen, NRDC senior scientist, explores flame retardant chemicals used in upholstered furniture and how they could be affecting your health in My Toxic Couch.
50 Years after Silent Spring, Chemical Industry Still Trying to Deny Science
Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson helped launch the modern environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring. She was a woman ahead of her time who saw before others the urgent need to rid our nation, our bodies, and our ecosystems of toxic chemicals.
When she first raised the alarm, Carson was vilified by the chemical industry and the Agricultural Department and called “hysterical and unqualified.” Her information was described as ”oversimplified” and “filled with downright errors and scary generalization.”
Thanks to Carson’s fortitude and people’s outrage, the truth prevailed, and Congress finally banned DDT. Yet five decades later, industry-funded attacks on science continue unabated. Read more in Frances Beinecke’s blog.
China Post (September 6, 2012): The spiraling use of chemicals, especially in developing countries, is inflicting a rising bill by damaging people’s health and the environment, according to a U.N. report issued on Wednesday. Formerly small-scale consumers and producers of chemicals, developing economies now represent the fastest-growing sector of this industry, importing or making compounds for manufacturing and agriculture. But many countries lack safeguards for handling chemicals safely or disposing of them properly, according to the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) report, entitled “Global Chemicals Outlook.” Estimates have found that in just one year, water pollution caused US$634 million in damage to commercial fisheries in China.