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In this morning’s email I received two announcements. One showing progress on the toxics front and then other…what’s the correct word for “opposite of progress”?

Bad news first. The New York Times reported that the federal government is scaling back the way health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market will be determined.

Under The Frank R, Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (signed into law in 2016), the E.P.A. was required for the first time to evaluate hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and determine if they should face new restrictions, or even be removed from the market. The chemicals include many in everyday use, such as dry cleaning solvents, paint strippers, and substances used in health and beauty products like shampoos and cosmetics.”

“But as it moves forward reviewing the first batch of 10 chemicals the E.P.A. has in most cases decided to from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances’ presence in the air, the ground or water…Instead, the agency will focus on possible harm caused by direct contact with a chemical in the workplace or elsewhere.”

On the brighter side. the State of New York now has a Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program, that requires manufacturers of cleaning products to post their product ingredients on Internet web sites by July 2019, with further details to be added by July 2020 and January 2023. Exceptions are allowed for trade secrets.

California already has a similar program SB-258 Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017. This law requires known hazardous chemicals in home and commercial cleaning products to be listed on labels and online.
Manufacturers have until 2020 to disclose ingredients online and until 2021 to list them on labels.

While all of this study of chemicals and disclosure of toxic ingredients is good to do, in the meanwhile each of us can take action to choose products that are not made with these chemicals right now, today. The toxic-free products exist, we just need to choose them.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the EPA

TIMESUNION: Home cleaning products must reveal chemicals, potential health impacts to state

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