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Environmental Justice Report: 81% Of Products Tested At U.S. Dollar Stores Are Unsafe

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AUSTIN, Texas — On July 1, activists gathered at dollar stores nationally to declare their “independence” from toxic chemicals, after a report earlier this year suggested products sold by these discount chains could be hurting consumers. To produce the report, issued in February by Environmental Justice for All’s Campaign for Healthier Solutions, researchers tested 164 products from multiple discount chain stores nationwide and found that 133 contained “at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern,” meaning that 81% of tested products were hazardous. These include chemicals identified to be carcinogenic, capable of causing developmental disabilities in children, or were otherwise found at levels considered toxic. Unlike major chains like Wal-Mart and Target, no major dollar store chain has a formal policy on selling or disclosing toxic ingredients in products.

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EPA Can Map Environmental Justice Communities – Can They Stop The Poisoning?

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Today we know how to identify Environmental Justice communities but what is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing to relieve their community burdens? A new mapping tool created by the EPA, called EJSCREEN was recently released. This tool is great for academia or researchers but how does it help environmentally impacted communities? Why is generating information, that community already know because they are living with the pollution and associated diseases daily, more important than helping them?

CHEJ, for example, has worked for over thirty years with Save Our County in East Liverpool, Ohio This community in the 1990’s was defined by EPA as an Environmental Justice community, through their evaluation process which is the same as the mapping categories. Yet nothing has changed as a result of this definition.

  • The hazardous waste incinerator, WTI, still operates and remains for most of the time in violation of air and other standards.
  • Other industries continue to pollute with little enforcement.
  • An elementary school was closed due to the air emissions from the WTI Incinerator stack which is almost level to the school windows (incinerator is in the valley) stack peeked over the embankment. The City was force to shoulder the costs of relocating students and staff.
  • In the past several years new wells were drilled for natural gas extraction and infrastructure.
  • The community has the highest number of cancers in their county than other similar counties in the state.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed in East Liverpool, Ohio as a result of being defined an environmental justice community.

  • No decision to stop new polluting industries from setting up shop.
  • No action on denying permits, when they have been a significant repeat violator of the laws and regulation, when up for renewal permit.
  • No fee data and information when requested under the freedom of information requests.
  • No additional public comment meetings for new or existing permits. Absolute nothing changed in East Liverpool, OH and so many other communities.

    Thank you EPA for providing a tool for academics, for communities to say yes our community qualifies (although they already knew) and for real estate and banking institutions to provide information that will make it more difficult for families in Environmental Justice communities to secure a home improvement loan or sell their property.

    Now can you spend some time and money on reducing the pollution burdens and assisting with the medical professionals for disease related injuries.

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    Which brands use BPA?

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    You’ve probably heard of bisphenol A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen found in the linings of many food cans. One of the nastiest endocrine disruptors on the market, BPA has been linked to a variety of serious disorders, including cancer, reproductive damage and heart disease.

    But I bet you haven’t heard this: Consumers have NO reliable way of knowing which canned foods use BPA-based epoxy in their linings. Crazy, right?

    At EWG, we thought so too, which is why we’re proud to release our latest analysis, BPA in Canned Food: Behind the Brand Curtain. We developed this report to help consumers like you determine which products contain BPA and which brands you can count on for BPA-free products.

    Click here to check out the full report and get the facts on which canned food products still contain BPA.


    EWG


    After scrutinizing more than 250 brands of canned food, EWG analysts found that while many companies have publicly pledged to stop using BPA in their cans, more than 110 brands still line all or some of their metal cans with an epoxy resin containing BPA.

    EWG divides the brands into four categories: those using cans with BPA, those using BPA-free cans for some products, those always using BPA-free cans and those that are unclear. That way, you can tell exactly which products to seek out and which to avoid.

    Federal regulations don’t require manufacturers to label their products so you can identify cans with BPA-based linings. That’s why EWG stepped up to do this research — so you have the resources you need to avoid BPA and shop smarter.

    Click here to learn more and see which canned food brands you should avoid and which ones you can count on for BPA-free products.

    While you can’t yet rely on federal regulations to safeguard you and your family from toxic chemicals like BPA, you can always depend on EWG.

    Thanks for making this work possible.

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    Health effects of vinyl flooring on baby boys

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    Mind the Store has achieved tremendous victories lately – the nation’s two largest home improvement retailers, Home Depot and Lowe’s, have committed to phasing out toxic phthalates in flooring by the end of the year.  

    We’re now turning our attention to Menards, the 3rd largest home improvement chain in the country with sales of over $8 billion and 280 stores in 14 states. You may not have a Menards in your area, that is ok. We still need you to act. If Home Depot and Lowe’s can ban phthalates in flooring, so can Menards!  

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Menards to phase out toxic phthalates in flooring.

    Testing has found some vinyl flooring Menards sells contains toxic phthalates, chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects in baby boys. Chemicals that are so toxic, they have been restricted in children’s toys.

    Let’s turn up the heat on Menards
    — Take action today!

    Act Now!

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    Waterways May be Contaminated with High Levels of BPA Released into the Atmosphere

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    Our water may be contaminated by hormone-disrupting pollutants. Scientists have discovered that harmful concentrations of Bisphenol-A (BPA) may have been deposited directly into rivers and streams by municipal or industrial wastewater.

    “There is a growing concern that hormone disruptors such as BPA not only threaten wildlife but also humans,” said Chris Kassotis, one of the researchers, in a news release. “Recent studies have documented widespread atmospheric releases of BPA from industrial sources across the United States. The results from our study provide evidence that these atmospheric discharges can dramatically elevate BPA in nearby environments.”

    Read more.

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    Mind the Store, get phthalates out of flooring

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    Over the last two weeks we have achieved tremendous victories – the nation’s two largest home improvement retailers, Home Depot and Lowe’s, have committed to phase out toxic phthalates in flooring by the end of the year.  

    This is HUGE as together they sell billions of dollars worth of flooring a year! This is a lot to celebrate, but we’re not stopping there. 

    We’re now turning our attention to Menards, the 3rd largest home improvement chain in the country with sales of over $8 billion and 280 stores in 14 states. If Home Depot and Lowe’s can ban phthalates in flooring, so can Menards!  

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Menards to phase out toxic phthalates in flooring.

    Testing has found some vinyl flooring Menards sells contains toxic phthalates, chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects in baby boys. Chemicals that are so toxic they have been restricted in children’s toys.

    This may not be easy. Menards has earned a reputation for violating environmental laws in their own home state of Wisconsin. The were fined $1.5 million after their CEO, John Menard Jr.  ”used his own pickup truck to haul bags of chromium-contaminated incinerator ash produced by the company and dump it into his trash at home.”1 That’s who we’re up against.

    Help us turn up the heat on Menards and leverage the victories we’ve achieved to date. Take action today!

    Act Now!

    For a toxic-free future,

    Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director
    Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

    PS — Help us continue the momentum by calling on the nation’s #3 home improvement chain Menards to ban toxic phthalates in flooring!


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    State agency puts BPA on Prop. 65 list, says it harms reproductive health

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    Metal can liners are made from plastic that contains BPA. The Can Manufacturers Institute opposes the listing of Bisphenol-A on the Prop. 65 list as a female reproductive toxicant, or as harmful to women's reproductive health. Once listed the manufacturers and retailers will have 12 months to institute warning labels based on what level is considered safe to consume.Metal can liners are made from plastic that contains BPA. The Can Manufacturers Institute opposes the listing of Bisphenol-A on the Prop. 65 list as a female reproductive toxicant, or as harmful to women’s reproductive health. Once listed the manufacturers and retailers will have 12 months to institute warning labels based on what level is considered safe to consume.NEO VISION/GETTY IMAGES/AMANA IMAGES RM

    The chemical Bisphenol-A goes on the Proposition 65 list this week after a unanimous vote by a state scientific panel concluded the element is harmful to women’s reproductive health, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

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    VICTORY — Lowe’s commits to phase out phthalates in flooring

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    We did it!

    In less than one week, Lowe’s has agreed to eliminate toxic phthalates in their flooring by the end of this year!

    This is huge as Lowe’s is the second largest home improvement retailer in the country.  

    This shows the power we have as consumers to get big retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals in products.

    Lowe’s commitment comes less than one week after we announced another big victory for our campaign – Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer took the lead by eliminating added phthalates by the end of 2015.  That victory was featured in a big NY Times story.  Our campaign has now successfully leveraged Home Depot’s policy by convincing Lowe’s to join them.

    This follows a HealthyStuff.org report we just co-released that found nearly half (48%) of flooring samples tested at Lowe’s contained toxic phthalates.  

    We welcome and congratulate both Home Depot and Lowe’s for doing what’s right for our families and homes.

    A big question remains though– what about the other leading retailers of flooring?  To date, Lumber Liquidators, Ace Hardware, Menards and Build.com have no timeframes to eliminate phthalates in flooring, and testing has shown toxic phthalates in flooring they sell. 

    Who will be the next retailer to join this growing trend?  Stay tuned, as we’ll be launching a new campaign in the next week targeting at least one of these laggards.

    In the meantime, join us in celebrating the good news by sharing it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Stand Up for the Victims of DuPont

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    We can’t let DuPont get away with this.

    After spearheading one of the most extensive cover-ups in recent history, the chemical giant is now trying to shield itself from liability and escape its responsibilities to the thousands of victims left ill by its neglect.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    • In 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency fined chemical giant DuPont a record $16.5 million for a decades-long cover-up of the health hazards of its product, C-8, also known as PFOA. One of a family of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, C-8 was a key ingredient in making Teflon, the non-stick, waterproof, stain-resistant “miracle of modern chemistry” used in thousands of household products.
    • DuPont knew that C-8 caused cancer, poisoned drinking water in the Mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide – but it never told its workers, local officials and residents, state regulators or the EPA!
    • Today, 10 years after the EPA took action, DuPont has failed to clean up water supplies, is shirking its promise to monitor the health of the communities it poisoned and is gearing up to fight in court against paying damages to its victims.
    • While C-8/PFOA will no longer be used in the U.S. by the end of this year, DuPont and other companies continue to use related chemicals that may not be much – if at all – safer. These next-generation PFCs are used to make greaseproof food wrappers, waterproof and stain-repellent clothing, and countless other products.

    We must put a stop to this secrecy right now and bring justice to the victims of DuPont.

    Click here to sign EWG’s petition and demand that DuPont keeps it promises to its victims in the Mid-Ohio Valley and beyond.

    The EPA classifies C-8 as a “probable human carcinogen.” Exposure to it is associated with several serious diseases, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis and high cholesterol.

    We may never truly know how many victims have fallen ill due to DuPont’s careless use of C-8 and other chemicals, but it is far too many. And every one of those victims deserves justice.

    Don’t let DuPont get away with trying to skirt the consequences of its toxic responsibilities and legacy in Parkersburg. EWG – and the victims of DuPont – need you to take action today.

    Sign the petition: Tell DuPont to stop the secrecy and keep its promises to its victims!

    Thanks for standing up for the victims of DuPont. Together, we’ll make sure justice is served.

    - EWG Action Alert

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    DuPont’s Cover-Up

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    Ten years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency levied what was then its largest administrative penalty in the agency’s history.

    The fine punished chemical giant DuPont for its decades-long cover-up of the health hazards of a substance known as C8, or PFOA. One in a family of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, C8 was a key ingredient in making Teflon, the non-stick, waterproof, stain-resistant “miracle of modern chemistry” used in thousands of household products.

    Internal documents revealed that DuPont had long known about the dangers of C8 yet engaged in a calculated cover-up for years. The company knew all along that C8 caused cancer, had poisoned drinking water in the mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide.

    But just as the phaseout of C8 did not end the global health threat from PFCs, DuPont’s fine and $300 million settlement did not deliver justice to the people of the mid-Ohio Valley. In many ways, it was only the beginning, and 10 years later, their fight continues.

    Click here to learn more about DuPont’s cover-up and how you can avoid PFCs today in EWG’s latest report.


    EWG


    While the production, use and importation of C8 has ended in the United States, DuPont and other companies have replaced it with similar chemicals that may not be much – if at all – safer.

    These next-generation PFCs are used in grease-resistant food wrappers, waterproof clothing, stain- and water-resistant coatings for carpets and furniture as well as many other products. Few have been tested for safety, and the names, composition and health effects of most are hidden as “trade secrets.”

    In light of the new PFCs’ potential for harm, their continued global production, the chemicals’ persistence in the environment and ongoing presence in drinking water in at least 29 states, we’re a long way from the day when PFCs will be no cause for concern.

    Read EWG’s latest report on the DuPont scandal and see how PFCs continue to affect the health of Americans today.