When I started researching toxic chemicals in consumer products we use at home in 1978, little was known about the presence of toxic chemicals in consumer products or their health effects. In fact, the field of toxicology barely existed. The first toxicology textbook wasn’t written until 1971, and the first professional organization to certify toxicologists wasn’t formed until 1979.
Today, more than a quarter of a century later, our knowledge of toxic chemicals and their health effects have changed dramatically. Studies exist which show that toxic chemical exposure contributes to virtually every symptom and illness. I've established "Toxics & Health" as a place to show just how widespread the connections are between toxic exposures and everyday health problems. See the menu to the right for links to books on toxics, organizations working on toxics issues, and articles about how toxic chemicals contribute to common symptoms and illnesses you or family and friends may be experiencing. I will be posting many more articles on this subject.
When I was researching my new book Toxic Free, I realized that it is now known that toxic chemicals affect every body system. I've put together this little ebook to give you a tour of your body and the various illnesses that can result from exposure to toxic chemicals.
In 2009, a major shift occurred in the world of toxic chemicals with the introduction of the Kid Safe Chemical Act. It's purpose was to strengthen the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA does not require chemical manufacturers to develop new data on toxicity and exposure, which has led to products being put on the market that contain chemicals that have not been adequately screened for safety. It also allows manufacturers to include toxic chemicals in products without disclosing those toxic chemicals on the product labels. Though this bill did not pass, it created new interest in toxics in the mainstream news and many groups are still working on getting this reform to happen.
In early 2010, the organization Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families released a report called "The Health Case for Reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act". Based on more than 1200 studies, the report shows just how toxic chemicals are contributing to many widespread health problems and demonstrates how eliminating toxic chemicals from consumer products (by strengthening TSCA) will reduce health care costs. According to this study, 133 million people in the U.S.—almost half of all Americans—are now living with chronic diseases and conditions related to toxic chemical exposures, which now account for 70% of deaths and 75% of U.S. health care costs. They calculate that if only a fraction of toxic chemicals were removed from consumer products, it would save the U.S. health care system an estimated $5 billion every year.
All of this political activity regarding toxics in consumer products has pushed toxics into the news to a greater degree than ever, and appropriate and effective legislation would go a long way toward reducing the amount of toxic chemicals in use. This is an unprecedented opportunity to make major progress in eliminating toxic chemicals from our homes and the environment.However, we don't have to wait for government to act to eliminate toxic exposures in our own lives, and indeed, our consumer choices have an immense effect on what it sold in the marketplace, government regulation or not. Since I started writing about toxics in the early 1980s, the numbers of toxic free products available for purchase has skyrocketed—because WE—the consumers of America—are buying them.,
Here are some things you can do:
It is possible to significantly reduce our exposures to toxic chemicals and remove toxic chemicals already in our bodies--enough to dramatically improve our health and reduce health care costs. I've been living without toxic chemicals for more than thirty years, and you can too.
How toxic chemicals in consumer products adversely affect our health and happiness.
Helping consumers make toxic-free choices since 1982.