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Home Safe Home. Making the Case for Safer Alternatives to Common Household Toxics Sarah Uhl Environmental Health Coordinator Clean Water Fund 10.25.08. Since WWII more than 85,000 synthetic chemicals have been introduced into our environment .

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home safe home
Home Safe Home

Making the Case for Safer Alternatives to Common Household Toxics

Sarah Uhl

Environmental Health Coordinator

Clean Water Fund


Since WWII more than 85,000synthetic chemicals have been introduced into our environment.

Amazingly, industry and the federal government have failed to test more than90 percent of these chemicals for potential links to cancer, birth defects and other health impacts.

In recent years, an expanding body of evidence has linked the pollutants and man-made chemicals in our environment to cancer, declining sperm counts, birth defectsand other diseases on the rise.
toxic chemicals disease
Toxic Chemicals & Disease
  • The State of the Evidence:

Experts have linked over 180 human diseases and disorders to toxic chemicals

“Chemical Contaminants and Human Disease:

A summary of Evidence”

Jansen, Soloman, Schettler 4-04


cancer the environment
Cancer & the Environment
  • Since 1950 cancer incidence among all age ranges and socioeconomic classes has increased by 89 percent.
  • The biggest upsurge has taken place in the last two decades. (NCI)
  • 5-80 percent of all cancer cases have been linked to environmental causes. (July 2004, national cancer institute, national institute of environmental health sciences).

Change of incidence of breast cancer over time:


1 in 9


1 in 8


1 in 11


1 in 7

Sperm count

among men throughout the industrialized world

has declined by about 50%

during the past 50 years.

(Carlson, et al. British Medical Journal)


“Environmental pollutants are disrupting

the reproductive success of wildlife

and probably of humans.”

Ana Soto, Endocrinologist and Epidemiologist

the silver lining
The Silver Lining

“As new evidence mounts up , we are beginning to understand more about the staggering number of human diseases and disorders linked to toxic chemicals. The silver lining: we can prevent much of this damage to our health by taking comprehensive steps to replace chemicals with safer alternatives.”

Julia Brody, PhD,

Then Executive Director,

Silent Spring Institute

pesticides perfume pvc
Pesticides, Perfume & PVC
  • Focus:
    • Pesticides Used in Homes
    • Personal Care Products
    • PVC Children’s Products
household pesticides toxic by design
Household Pesticides: Toxic by Design
  • Active ingredients
  • Over 800 active ingredients in pesticides from various chemical families
  • Human health effects include:
    • Cancers
    • Developmental and reproductive damage
    • Toxicity to liver, kidneys, other organs
    • Hormones, respiratory, brain and central nervous system damage
inert ingredients
“Inert” Ingredients
  • “Inert” ingredients also problematic
    • Over 1,700 inert ingredients can be found in pesticide products (including formaldehyde, phthalates, lead and various petroleum products)
    • Manufacturers are not required to list these ingredients on label
    • Approximately 300 “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS), a few are known to be toxic, most never evaluated
pesticides building up in our bodies
Pesticides Building Up In Our Bodies
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Study (Jan. 2003)
  • Found pesticides in every single person tested
  • Average person: 13 pesticides (only tested for 34 active ingredients)
children particularly vulnerable
Children Particularly Vulnerable
  • "Children are more affected by exposure to such chemicals because they are smaller and because their major organs such as the liver and kidneys are not mature, and still growing.“

John Wargo, PhD,

Yale University Risk Analysis and Public Policy (www.ehhi.org)

  • CDC study found children carry nearly twice the burden of chlorpyrifos and other pesticide residues compared to adults
some examples
Some Examples
  • “Weed-and-Feed”,
  • “Weed-B-Gon”,
  • “Turf Builder with PLUS2”
  • Contain 2,4-D that is linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, soft tissue cancers
some examples16
Some Examples
  • “Turf Builder with Insect Control”
    • Contains carbaryl and diazinon
    • Capable of harming the nervous system
    • Recognized by EPA to pose special threat to children
how are we exposed to pesticides
How are we exposed to pesticides?
  • Direct
  • Indirect and Cumulative
    • Through outdoor and indoor air, dust, food, and drinking water
  • Bottom line
    • Doctors beginning to warn that pesticides are too harmful to use in any form

Ontario College of Family Physicians,

Sanborn et al. April 2004


what about drinking water
What About Drinking Water?
  • EWG report: tap water in 27 of 29 cities tested contained 2-9 different pesticides (www.ewg.org)
  • Environment & Human Health, Inc. report: lawn and tree care pesticides are capable of filtering down through the soil and entering residential drinking water wells (www.ehhi.org)
  • Context: approximately 500,000 people in CT get their drinking water from private wells (CT Dept. of Public Health)
the good news
The Good News

Trend to reduce use of pesticides:

  • European Union Re-Registration Process: over 300 pesticides have been withdrawn
  • Quebec Pesticide Code: bans cosmetic (not agricultural) pesticides containing 22 active ingredients including malathion and 2,4-D
  • An Act Banning Pesticide Use in Middle And High Schools: requires organic lawn care for schools K-8 in Connecticut
  • Many local governments: resolutions restrict use of pesticides on municipal property
pesticide products to avoid
Pesticide Products to Avoid
  • Indoor uses of most pesticides especially foggers and sprayers – without sunlight and soil bacteria – pesticides do not break down
  • Products containing malathion and chlorpyrifos
  • Products containing the herbicide 2,4-D
  • Products containing trichlorfon (a carcinogen)
  • Products specifically targeted for children (for example, permethrin-treated clothing!)
for more information
For More Information
  • CT Registered Products:http://www.kellysolutions.com/CT
  • CT Chapter of Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)http://www.ctnofa.org
  • Health Impacts:http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Index.html
  • Alternatives to Pesticides:http://www.pesticide.org/default.htm

Quick Quiz:

The FDA regulates cosmetics like they do prescription drugs and food additives.




Quick Quiz:

The FDA regulates cosmetics like they do prescription drugs and food additives.




US Laws Don't Protect Us

Unlike food, drugs and other products that get into our bodies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets cosmetics companies put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with

NO required testing,

NO monitoring of health effects and


a daily chemical cocktail
A Daily Chemical Cocktail

According to industry estimates, on any given day a consumer may use as many as 25 different cosmetic products containing more than 200 different chemical compounds.

synergistic effects
Synergistic Effects

The chemicals in any

one consumer product alone

are unlikely to cause harm.

But unfortunately,

we are repeatedly exposed

to industrial chemicals

from many different sources

on a daily basis,

including cosmetics

and personal care products.

untested chemicals
Untested Chemicals

Of the 10,500 chemical ingredients used in personal care products,

just 11 percent have been safety assessed.

birth defects and damaged sperm
Birth Defects and Damaged Sperm

One of every ten ingredients approved for use by The Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel shows some evidence of reproductive toxicity in laboratory studies.

(Linked to birth defects, damaged sperm and infertility.)


Cancer Risk

1/3 of all personal care products contain one or more ingredients classified as possible human carcinogens

the opportunity eu cosmetics directive
The Opportunity: EU Cosmetics Directive

The European Union has amended their Cosmetics Directive to require cosmetics companies to remove reproductive toxins, mutagens and carcinogens from personal care products by September 2004.

us consumers deserve equal protection
US Consumers Deserve Equal Protection!

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Health and environmental groups across country uniting

to press manufacturers directly

to remove carcinogens, mutagens

and reproductive toxins

from product lines

recent progress

For Companies

  • Compact with America
  • Organizations That Support the Compact
  • Compact Signers
Recent Progress
  • Over 50 companies pledge to make products without chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects!

Show us you care by pledging to provide safer health and beauty products to all of your customers.


join us
Join us!
  • Visit campaign website: www.SafeCosmetics.org
  • Get campaign updates
  • Investigate the products you use in the “Skin Deep” database
  • Let the personal care products industry know that you’d like safer products
polyvinyl chloride pvc children s products
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Children’s Products
  • PVC Background:
    • Common soft plastic that contains chemical softeners (plasticizers) and heavy metal stabilizers among other additives
    • Chemicals often leach out during use and are linked to potentially serious health effects
    • Pollution created during PVC production and disposal
    • Mix of additives makes it difficult to recycle (least recycled of all plastics)
pvc children s products toxic ingredients
PVC Children’s ProductsToxic Ingredients
  • Most commonly used phthalates in PVC :
    • di-isononyl phthalate (DINP),
    • di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP),
    • di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP),
    • dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (in printing inks - show estrogenic activity)
    • butylbenzyl phthalate (BBP), (in printing inks - show estrogenic activity)
    • di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) - Removed from toys intended for the mouth through a 1986 voluntary agreement in the US but still present in other childcare articles
pvc children s products exposure
PVC Children’s ProductsExposure
  • Many childcare articles such as teethers, bath toys, stroller covers, bibs, and raincoats sold on the market are made of PVC
  • How can children be exposed? Children can come into contact with toxic additives in PVC products through chewing or sucking, normal hand-to-mouth behavior, and through the release of the chemicals in air and dust as the products age.
  • The CDC found phthalates in urine at levels highest in children (6 to 11 years of age) and in non-caucasian populations.
pvc children s products toys chemical content limits
PVC Children’s ProductsToys Chemical Content Limits
  • EU legislation
  • Other countries have taken official action on phthalates and PVC: Austria, France, Greece, Mexico, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan, Iceland, and Italy.
  • T
pvc children s products for more information
PVC Children’s ProductsFor more information
  • PVC-free plastics are inexpensive and widely availableChildren products manufacturers that have or are eliminating PVC: Brio, Chicco, Childlife, Evenflo, First Years, Gerber, International Playthings (Primetime & Early Start), Lamaze Infant Development, Lego, Little Tikes, Ravensburger, Sassy, Small World Toys, Tiny Love, Yomega
  • Health ImpactsAgency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry Toxicological Profileshttp://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxpro2.html

Health Care Without Harm http://www.noharm.org/pvcDehp/issue

  • Don’t be overwhelmed: small steps matter!
  • Do what you can to shift to safer alternatives in your town and state government, and as a consumer.
  • Consciously take these steps for the children in your life! Your legacy matters…
the coalition for a safe healthy connecticut
The Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut
  • The Coalition is a growing alliance of over 35 organizations—
    • Health
    • Labor
    • Scientific
    • Environmental
    • Faith and Community groups
  • Together we are working to prevent harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals.
our strategies
Our Strategies:
  • Municipal Resolutions
  • State Policies
    • Executive Orders
    • Legislation
  • Corporate Policies
  • And ultimately…federal policies and international agreements
Program Contact

Sarah Uhl, Coalition Coordinator

suhl@cleanwater.org, 860-232-6232