vinyl

Children have higher exposures to some phthalates, which are found in some PVC plastics and personal care products.

Good news/bad news: Some phthalates down, some up

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By Lindsey Konkel
Staff Writer
Environmental Health News

January 15, 2014


Children have higher exposures to some phthalates, which are found in some PVC plastics and personal care products.


Scientists have documented for the first time that several phthalates – controversial chemicals used to make vinyl and fragrances – are declining in people while several others are rising. The study, published today, is the first comprehensive, nationwide attempt to document trends in exposure to these widely used chemicals over the past decade.

Anne Petersen/flickr
Most nail polish no longer contains the phthalate called DBP.

The researchers said the results suggest that manufacturers may be reformulating products in the wake of a federal regulation and environmental groups’ campaigns.

Three compounds banned in U.S. toys and other children’s products in 2008 have declined. But since other phthalates are increasing, it’s possible that industries have substituted them in some products.

“Our findings suggest that interventions may be working, though legislation didn’t entirely predict which levels went up or down,” said Ami Zota, a George Washington University assistant professor of environmental and occupational health who led the research when she was at the University of California, San Francisco.

Phthalates have been linked to a variety of health effects in animal tests and some human studies, including hormone disruptionaltered male genital development,diabetesasthmaattention disorders, learning disabilities and obesity.

Chemical industry representatives said that the traces found in most products are small, and not likely to cause harm.

“Despite the fact that phthalates are used in many products, exposure is extremely low – much lower than the levels considered safe by regulatory agencies,” said Liz Bowman, a spokesperson for the American Chemistry Council, which represents manufacturers of phthalates and other chemicals.

The researchers analyzed the urine of more than 11,000 American adults and children between 2001 and 2010. They discovered that people are still widely exposed to phthalates; some were found in 98 percent of people tested.

Breakdown products of three phthalates that Congress banned from toys and other children’s products were significantly lower in 2010 than in 2001. One of the compounds, known as DEHP, found in some toys, blood bags and medical tubing, decreased 37 percent.

“Despite the fact that phthalates are used in many products, exposure is extremely low – much lower than the levels considered safe by regulatory agencies.” –Liz Bowman, American Chemistry CouncilWhile DEHP remained higher in children than adults, the levels dropped faster in children, narrowing the gap over time, according to the study, which was published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The study did not look at children under 6, who may be more highly exposed to phthalates and more susceptible to adverse health effects.

“Today phthalate usage is virtually nonexistent in toys. They have been replaced by non-phthalate substitutes,” said Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs for the Toy Industry Association. He added that the toy industry began to transition away from phthalates years ago, but that the trend has been accelerated by regulatory actions in the U.S. and European Union.

However, three other phthalates used in some children’s products increased between 2001 and 2010. DiNP rose 149 percent, while DnOP increased 25 percent and DiDP rose 15 percent. The three were temporarily banned in 2008 in U.S. toys and childcare products that could be put in a child’s mouth. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently debating whether to lift the restrictions or make them permanent.

In addition, last month, California added DiNP to a list of chemicals known by the state to cause cancer. That could lead to warning labels on consumer products sold in the state.

Diueine Monteiro/flickr
Phthalates are used as fragrances in some shampoos and lotions.

DBP, which dropped 17 percent in people in the decade studied, was used in nail polish until a few years ago, when most major manufacturers eliminated it. Benzylbutyl phthalate, used in vinyl tiles and sealants, decreased 32 percent. Both compounds were part of the 2008 ban for children’s products.

A phthalate used primarily for fragrance – diethyl phthalate or DEP – decreased 42 percent. While it is not subject to U.S. bans, advocacy groups have pressured the cosmetics industry to remove it from products with initiatives such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The study authors saw a steeper decline in DEP in adults and adolescents than in children, who may be less likely to use personal care products.

Joe Braun, an epidemiologist at Brown University who was not involved in the study, said “the age-dependent patterns confirm what we suspect about where these exposures are coming from.”

“These findings are not as reassuring as they could be,” Braun added.

For instance, DiBP, used in some nail polishes and personal care products, increased 206 percent in the decade studied.

Manufacturers may be using some phthalates as substitutes for the ones that declined, the researchers said. But it’s hard to know because they aren’t required to list ingredients on many consumer products.

“We are not confident that cosmetics manufacturers are replacing toxic phthalates with safer alternatives,” said Janet Nudelman, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Personal Care Products Council, a Washington D.C.-based trade group, did not respond to requests for comment on the findings.

“There’s a clear need for better data reporting on ingredient composition of everyday consumer products so that we can fully understand the impacts of legislation and consumer pressure,” said Zota, who co-authored the study with UC San Francisco Professor Tracey Woodruff and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist Antonia Calafat.

Source: Zota et al. 2014

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Walmart Tackling Toxic Chemicals-Will Their Suppliers Listen?

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By Mike Schade, Mind The Store Campaign Director

Small_489771072Yesterday, Walmart announced a major update to their corporate chemicals policy with the release of their new Sustainable Chemistry Implementation Guide, sending a strong message to suppliers, competing retailers and the chemical industry that toxic chemicals that build up in our bodies linked to cancer, birth defects and learning disabilities have no place in products sold on store shelves.

(Photo Credit: Ron Dauphin via photopin cc)

This is big news, as our Mind the Store campaign has been challenging Walmart and the other top ten US retailers to eliminate the Hazardous 100+ chemicals of high concern from their products.  Yesterday, we responded to the new announcement with this statement.  We congratulate Walmart on expanding their chemicals policy with the release of this new implementation guide.   The million dollar question is – will their suppliers listen?  How will Walmart ensure suppliers actually comply with this important new policy? Here, we take a look at some of the more exciting elements of the expanded policy, as well as some initial thoughts on how the policy can be improved.

Raising the bar for disclosure of chemicals of concern

ShoppingArguably the most exciting elements of Walmart’s policy center on online and product-level disclosure.  We are especially pleased that Walmart will now be requiring suppliers to disclose the presence of toxic chemicals of concern business-to-business through the Wercs, publicly on company websites, and even on product labels (!) beginning in January 2018.   This new requirement should not only provide incentives for manufactures to reduce or eliminate the use of “priority” chemicals, to avoid having to list them on products, but also empower moms and dads to make smarter and healthier shopping choices for their families. The company is also attempting to address chemicals like fragrances, which most companies virtually never disclose.  They recommend that disclosure should include “full disclosure of all ingredients including those typically protected under trade secrets (e.g. fragrances)” as well as “known residuals, contaminants and by-products”.

The question is – will suppliers listen – and how will Walmart actually ensure fragrances and other additives are actually publicly disclosed?

Expanding “Priority” list of chemicals – but what are their top ten?

Walmart is still not disclosing the names of these chemicals for “business reasons”

This past fall, Walmart announced their new chemicals policy and were going to be prioritizing a list of ten chemicals as an initial list of “high priority” chemicals for “continuous reduction, restriction and elimination”, yet the company never disclosed the names of these chemicals.   Unfortunately, Walmart is still not disclosing the names of these chemicals for “business reasons and state that these ten chemicals are “based on (a) authoritative lists, (b) current and pending regulatory lists, (c) high prevalence in Walmart products, and (d) concerns of direct exposure to consumers.” So that leaves about 2 or 3,000 chemicals to choose from.  Hmmmm, any guesses as to what ones they may be?  We are disappointed that Walmart has still not disclosed their initial ten “high priority” chemicals, despite public pledges to do so.  In the interest of transparency, we call on Walmart to reconsider their decision to not disclose these “high priority” chemicals.  After all, American families have the right to know.

On the positive side, Walmart has announced a brand new set of “Walmart Priority Chemicals”, which is comprised of no less than twenty of the most important authoritative lists in the US and internationally identifying chemicals of high concern, such as California Proposition 65, US EPA PBT and chemical action plan chemicals, and the states of Washington and Maine chemicals, demonstrating the significance of state action on chemicals.  We are very pleased that this list includes every single one of the lists we referenced on our Hazardous 100 list, and many more.  While the company did not identify the actually chemicals on these lists, you don’t have to work so hard to find them. This could very well likely include thousands of chemicals, though right now it’s somewhat unclear if every single one of the substances on these lists are included, or not.  By comparison, Target’s policy and list is also very significant, with over 1,000 substances.

Reducing, restricting and eliminating toxic chemicals

Walmart is now calling on suppliers to, reduce, restrict and eliminate these substances.  The policy states that suppliers should:

“Reduce, restrict and eliminate use of priority chemicals using informed substitution principles. Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. have defined a list of authoritative and regulatory lists, which will be made public, to identify “Walmart Priority Chemicals” within the scope of this policy…. All suppliers are expected to reduce, restrict and eliminate use of priority chemicals using informed substitution principles. Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. have defined a list of authoritative and regulatory lists (made publicly available through Appendix 1) to identify “Walmart Priority Chemicals” within the scope of this policy.”

Tracking reduction of chemicals of concern

they will send an e-mail to each supplier indicating which products contain “high priority chemicals”

The company is using the Wercs database/website to notify suppliers when products they sell contain either a “Walmart Priority Chemical” or “Walmart High Priority Chemical”.  Using the Wercs system, they will send an e-mail to each supplier indicating which products contain “high priority chemicals” and in the future, any time a product entered contains a “priority” or “high priority” chemical, the supplier will automatically be notified.  They will also use the Wercs database to track the number of priority chemicals in products, as well as their reduction, using various metrics including quantifying reductions by weight, number of products, number of suppliers, and sales volume.

The company also plans to publicly report their progress on transparency, advancing safer formulation of products and DfE certification in the company’s 2016 Global Responsibility Report.

Getting off the toxic treadmill

Another significant element of their expanded policy is that Walmart is for the first time encouraging their suppliers to get off the toxic treadmill, and avoid “regrettable substitution” by evaluating the hazards of replacement chemicals and embracing best in class “informed substitution” and  “alternatives assessment” principles.   Walmart states:

“Informed substitution is the considered transition from a chemical of particular concern to safer chemicals or non-chemical alternatives [1]. Using informed substitution principles will mitigate hazard risks associated with product formulation and achieve compliance with Walmart’s Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables…In the aim of advancing safer formulated products and promoting informed substitution, Walmart recommends the major tenets of Alternatives Assessment, a process for identifying, comparing and selecting safer alternatives to priority chemicals (including those in materials, processes or technologies) on the basis of their hazards, performance, and economic viability[1][2]…”

In their guide, they cite many great resources, such as the Pharos Chemical and Material Library, BizNGO’s Chemical Alternatives Assessment Protocol, and the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production’s  Alternatives Assessment Protocol. It’ll be interesting to see whether suppliers listen, and use these useful tools.  It’s not easy, but it can be done.

What’s good for our pets is good for our children

4103103448_982ca1cc4c_mThe policy impacts a number of categories of products sold at Walmart and Sam’s Clubs stores in the US, primarily cleaning products, cosmetics and personal care products, infant products, and pet supplies.  This is a good list of products to start with, and we hope Walmart will expand this over time to all other categories where chemicals of high concern are often found, such as children’s toys, apparel, furniture, electronics, and food packaging.

(Photo Credit: rumpleteaser via photopin cc)

We also hope Walmart will expand this policy to their stores globally.  As a company that has enormous power and influence over their supply chain, if they can do it in the US, why not the rest of the world? Families worldwide deserve the same protections.

Will other retailers Mind the Store?

Today’s new announcement should be a call to action to other big box retailers, grocery stores, and drug store chains.  We call on the other leading top ten retailers to join Walmart to Mind the Store and get tough on toxic chemicals.   After all, with great market power comes great responsibility.

We look forward to working with Walmart and the other nine leading retailers to create similar action plans on the Hazardous 100+ list of toxic chemicals in the months to come.

Join us and share this good news with your friends.

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New testing: Elevated levels of phthalates in Spongebob Squarepants vinyl rain ponchos

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New testing coordinated by CHEJ found elevated levels of phthalates in a Spongebob Squarepants vinyl rain poncho, at levels nearly seven times above the federal safety standard.

The brand new test results were released today at the DC Stroller Brigade coordinated by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Campaign.   The event on Capitol Hill today features parents, children, and cancer survivors from around the country, for a “Stroller Brigade” and rally. Families will also meet with their US senators to urge federal reform that will: protect pregnant women, children and vulnerable communities, take immediate action on the most toxic chemicals, and allow states the ability to pass their own toxic chemical laws.

Our new testing revealed elevated levels of phthalates in a Spongebob Squarepants children’s vinyl rain poncho, which we purchased at Toys R Us’ flagship store in Times Square, NYC.

The lab found the Spongebob vinyl poncho contained 6,600 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).   This phthalate is widely considered to be among the most toxic of all phthalates on the market.  The amount in the Spongebob Squarepants poncho  is nearly seven times greater than the level considered safe by the CSPC.  While phthalates have been banned in toys, they remain permitted in products like rain ponchos and children’s school supplies.  Low levels of lead were also detected in the raincoat.

The lab also found the product contained high levels of chlorine, indicating the raincoat is made out of vinyl (PVC) plastic.  Vinyl is the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment.  Its manufacture uses and releases hazardous chemicals including vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, mercury and dioxin, which are harmful to the communities and workers where it’s made and disposed of.

The new testing was funded by an innovative crowdfunding campaign CHEJ conducted on Indiegogo. We are hopeful that these new results will help educate US Senators on the need to reform our broken chemical safety laws.

New test results also released today by HealthyStuff.org found elevated levels of phthalates in dumbbells, over- the-ear headphones, and vinyl flooring.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on additional children’s school supply test results in the coming weeks.

Yours for a toxic-free future,

Mike Schade, Markets Campaign Coordinator
Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ)

A giant stack of PVC pipes.  Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/judeanpeoplesfront/

PVC pipes: bringing toxic lead to drinking water

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We all expect our drinking water to be clean and safe, but a new article reveals that PVC drinking water pipes may be carrying an unwanted contaminant into our precious drinking water: toxic lead.  Yes, the very same lead that can permanently damage the brain.


A giant stack of PVC pipes. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/judeanpeoplesfront/


The story, reported in Plastics News, found that lead is the primary stabilizer used in PVC piping in China, accounting for a whopping 91% of PVC pipes made in China.  91%! The article revealed that  lead is still widely used in vinyl pipes, including those used in drinking water, even though China banned the use of lead in PVC pipe 7 years ago.  30% of China’s PVC pipe is used in water supplies (not including drainage) in China. Read more >

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Toxic Worries? SafeMarkets.org Helps Find Safer Products

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New website contains info on toxic chemicals in products; testing results

NEW YORK, Aug. 22, 2013 – Information gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods was unveiled on a new website today to help identify potentially harmful products and safer ones. SafeMarkets.org reflects the work of many organizations working to remove toxic chemicals from the marketplace and promote an economy based on safe, sustainable products.

“People assume that if a product is on store shelves, that it’s safe; unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth. While we wait for urgent reform of federal chemicals regulations, it’s fallen on us to become educated on how to protect ourselves and our families from toxic chemicals in our homes, schools and hospitals,” explains Mike Schade, with Work Group for Safe Markets and Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). “We’ve been sounding the alarm on toxic chemicals in back to school products, including lunchboxes, backpacks made from vinyl, a plastic with many hazardous ingredients like phthalates, linked to asthma and reproductive harm. Shoppers can find links to CHEJ’s 2013 safer school supplies guide on Safemarkets.org.

“This is a one-stop shop to provide information for consumers, retailers and manufacturers that are demanding safer products,” adds Beverley Thorpe, with Work Group for Safe Markets and Clean Production Action (CPA). “Here at CPA, we’ve developed the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals to help manufacturers and retailers choose safer chemical ingredients. This and our BizNGO Guide to Safer Chemicals help businesses make better chemical choices.”

“With toxic flame retardant chemicals in so many things – upholstered furniture, many baby products, and other common household items, even some brands of soda – it’s hard to avoid being exposed to them. Linked to neurological problems, infertility, endocrine disruption, even cancer, it’s crucial for consumers to educate themselves before they buy,” says Kathy Curtis, with Alliance for Toxic Free Fire Safety.

“People of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals,” explains Michele Roberts with the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance. “So it’s particularly important for us to access information about toxics in products marketed to us. SafeMarkets.org is a good start for gaining information on many products in our homes. We look forward to information on personal care products marketed to ethnic markets to be included here in the future.”

Jamie McConnell, with Women’s Voices for the Earth and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, comments: “We’ve tested household products and found carcinogens and other harmful ingredients in cleansers, detergent, room fresheners and other everyday items used in many homes. SafeMarkets.org is helping to promote our reports and information and make them more accessible to consumers and businesses.”

Mia Davis, with Beautycounter, who is expecting her first child, says “It is about time we have a one stop web page that helps parents find safer products for their families. More than ever, people understand how important it is to shop with companies they trust and to support businesses working to create truly safe products.”

“This website helps consumers connect the dots between the choices they make every day to use healthier consumer products, like choices when making big budget decisions about how to build or renovate a healthy home,” according to Bill Walsh, with Healthy Building Network (HBN).  “The new SafeMarkets site features a link to the Pharos Project, HBN’s database for building materials.”

Info www.safemarkets.org

Dow Chemicals Vinyl Plant in Freeport, TX.Photo: Greenpeace USA 2011

Ouch! Vinyl Workers at Risk for Developing Kidney Stones

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Liver cancer. Reproductive risks.  Chemical plant explosions.

Workers who make vinyl plastic products face no shortage of hazards on the job.  A brand new study adds to the evidence that vinyl workers risk their health when making products like vinyl window blinds, flooring and piping for our homes and schools.

Dow Chemicals Vinyl Plant in Freeport, TX.Photo: Greenpeace USA 2011

Scientists at the University at Buffalo published a study of workers at vinyl plants in China, which found workers exposed to even low levels of the chemical trimethyltin chloride (TMT) had a higher prevalence of kidney stones.  The factories use this chemical as a heat stabilizer in the manufacture of vinyl window blinds.

Read more >

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How to Create Greener and Healthier Schools for Children and Teachers

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WHEN: Thursday May 23 – 4:30pm – 5:45 pm

WHERE: Free Webinar From Your Home/Computer

RSVP online at: http://bit.ly/healthyschoolswebinar

Healthy schools that are free from toxic chemicals are critical to children’s health. Unfortunately school building materials and products can contain chemicals harmful to children’s health that have been linked to asthma, learning and developmental disabilities, cancer and other serious health problems on the rise.  For example, hazardous chemicals and materials like mercury, phthalates, vinyl and halogenated flame retardants have been found in lighting, flooring, office supplies, and/or other products in schools. The good news is safer and affordable alternatives are available for schools and parents to use and purchase.

Learn how you can encourage your school to be greener and healthier by launching an environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) program.

Join this free webinar sponsored by NYS United Teachers (NYSUT), the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the Green Schools Alliance.

RSVP online at: http://bit.ly/healthyschoolswebinar

Questions? Contact mike@chej.org / 212-964-3680.

Funding provided by the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute through a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.   Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

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The latest news on the poison plastic: what every parent needs to know

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The bad news on vinyl, the poison plastic, and phthalates keeps on mounting.

The more I learn, the more I wonder, why are we still allowing this hazardous plastic in our schools and homes?

Here are some of the most recent developments that every parent needs to know.

First responders file lawsuit over vinyl chloride disaster

In response to the December vinyl chloride disaster, which sent over a cloud of over 20,000 gallons of vinyl chloride into the air (originally destined for OxyVinyls in NJ), a group of first responders have filed a lawsuit over this toxic exposure.  NBC Philadelphia reports:

“A class action lawsuit was filed today relating to the Paulsboro, New Jersey train derailment and chemical spill that forced hundreds of people from their homes and left dozens sick last year.

The plaintiffs include more than 100 first responders, young children, and property owners who allege they sustained injuries and damages after the hazardous chemical spill… First responders claim that Conrail representatives advised them throughout the day that they did not need breathing masks or other personal protective equipment, despite high readings of vinyl chloride in the air. The suit states they later underwent extensive medical testing that showed high levels of vinyl chloride in their urine.”

Vinyl chloride is the basic building block of PVC, used to make vinyl flooring in our nation’s schools, hospitals and homes.  You can’t make this plastic without this cancer-causing chemical.

The latest science: vinyl chemicals toxic to our health

As families and first responders have been suing over vinyl chloride epxousre, more scientific studies have been published showing that vinyl chemicals are harmful to our health.  Some notable studies in recent months include:

  • Research funded by the US Department of Defense found phthalates, used to make vinyl flooring soft and flexible, may contribute to disease even generations after exposure. They report that, Observations demonstrate that a mixture of plastic derived compounds, BPA and phthalates, can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. “
  • Only a few weeks after I blogged on new studies linking vinyl chemicals to asthma and obesity, researchers in China found a link between phthalates and obesity in school children.
  • Researchers in Ireland found potentially hazardous nanomaterials leach from PVC food packaging into food: “An exposure assessment revealed that human exposure to silver (assuming a worst case scenario that all silver is in its most harmful nanoform), is likely to be below current migration limits for conventional migrants and a provisional toxicity limit; however it is acknowledged there is still considerable uncertainty about the potential harmful effects of particles at the nanoscale.”

Policies to protect our kids from poisonous chemicals

On the policy front, the big news is the reintroduction of the Safe Chemicals Act by Senators Lautenberg and Gillibrand (honored to have her as my Senator here in NY, thank you very much :) ), which will go a long way in protecting American families from unnecessary toxic chemicals like phthalates.  Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a news release announcing their endorsement of these common sense health safeguards.

As chemical policy reform continues to be debated here in the US, at the international level, Denmark has just unveiled a comprehensive new strategy to address phthalates in consumer products.

As part of the strategy, the Danish EPA will commence evaluation of the information available about the most common phthalates. And this may very well lead to new bans or other measures if necessary, the Minister for the Environment pledges.”

Pressure mounting to eliminate vinyl and phthalates nationwide

Meanwhile, the market movement away from vinyl and phthalates continues.  For instance, EPEAT has recently announced new standards for printers and imaging equipment, which rewards PVC avoidance in electronics – which should have a huge impact on the electronics sector.

Just yesterday, the San Francisco Travel Association announced that all new street banners around the convention center will be completely free of PVC, due to the hazards PVC poses from production to use to disposal.

“San Francisco has always been a city of firsts when it comes to sustainability and now that extends to our city’s street banners. I’m pleased to see the San Francisco Travel Association embrace our city’s goals of zero waste and toxics reduction by eliminating the use of PVC, a harmful and non-recyclable material, and up-cycling the banners as well,” said Melanie Nutter, director San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Last and certainly not least, CHEJ and our friends at the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families campaign have launched a new Mind the Store campaign to urge the nation’s top ten retailers to eliminate the hazardous 100 chemicals, which includes phthalates, vinyl chloride, and a number of other chemicals unique to this poison plastic.  Many retailers, such as Target, have already taken steps to phase out PVC, but much more is still needed. Read all about what bloggers are saying about the new campaign, who traveled to stores nationwide urging them to get these nasty chemicals out of their products.

***

Phew, that’s a lot to report on!

Anything important I missed?  Would love to hear other new developments!

Till next time.  Your humble plastics crusader, Mike.

Paulsboro train derailment.

Paulsboro Derailment Blamed in Death of Woman, 77

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Wessie Hardy, who had an underlying cardiovascular condition, died three days after the derailment.”Ms. Hardy’s death is a tragic result of a company failing to properly maintain equipment and inadequately transporting dangerous chemicals,” said Joe Messa of the Philadelphia law firm Messa & Associates. Read more. . .

OHIO RALLY-(15)

A day in the life of CHEJ staff.

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A Cold Wednesday in March Demonstrated the reach CHEJ has and how much is really accomplished.

A Cold, Windy and Snowy Day Did Not Stop Us.

Wednesday March 6th a storm was brewing across the Midwest and Northeast.  Despite the snow and travel warnings CHEJ’s leaders moved forward.  Here is what happened on that cold, windy and snowy Wednesday in March.

A day in the life of CHEJ

As I juggle calls from activists across the state of Ohio working on fracking, deep well injection, air pollution, cancer clusters and more I’m freezing outside at and anti injection well rally at the state capital.  Cold and tired watching e-mails cross my phone from CHEJ’s home office I realize how much CHEJ does in a day to move the country toward a safe, healthy and justice place for American families.

While I’m in Columbus, Ohio participating with my neighbors and friends to speak out about fracking waste disposal.  Even with the nasty weather, over 125 people gather at the state house to ask legislators to  stop accepting out-of-state fracking wastes. Ohio now has over 200 injection wells and last year accepted  581,559,594 gallons (that’s right over 581 million gallons) of fracking wastes.

My co-worker is working on greening the market place organized a shareholder action in Arizona around Disney’s use of poison plastic in toys and other children’s products.  This morning a shareholder action was held in Phoenix, Arizona.  Leaders handed out informational packets to Disney shareholders to ask them to stop using PVC the poison plastic in their toys.  Many shareholders had no idea that toys were being made in a way that could harm young children.

Commemorating 35th Anniversary of Love Canal

In New York City

That same evening a celebration and fundraiser was held in New York City with our Executive Director Lois Gibbs.  This was our first event  of several, commemorations of Love Canal events 35 years ago were underway.  Chevy and Jayni Chase joined us as our special guest along with 67 others who braved the weather to celebrate with us that evening.  CHEJ surpassed our fundraising goal at the event and launched the Leadership Training Academy.  Great time was had by all with great food, drinks, conversations with colleagues and a preview of the new documentary A Fierce Green Fire, The Battle for A Living Planet.