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My guest Monona Rossol is a chemist, artist, industrial hygienist, and President/founder of Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing health and safety services to the arts. Author of nine books on toxics in the arts, Monona also is the Health and Safety Director for Local 829 of the United Scenic Artists, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). I’ve known of and admired her work for decades. Monona was born into a theatrical family and worked as a professional entertainer from age 3 to 17. She enrolled in the University of Wisconsin where she earned: a BS in Chemistry with a minor in Math, an MS majoring in Ceramics and Sculpture, and an MFA with majors in Ceramics and Glassblowing and a minor in Music. While in school she worked as a chemist, taught and exhibited art work, performed with University music and theater groups, and worked yearly in summer stock. After leaving school, she performed in musical and straight acting roles in Off and Off Off Broadway theaters and cabaret. Monona has lectured and consulted in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico and Portugal.




In this show Monona lays it on the line about how toxic the world is today. She took us to the Chemical Abstract Service website which registers chemicals. There is a counter that clicks every time a new chemical is registered. During the show 49 new chemicals were added to the 70 million plus chemicals that were already registered at the start of the show.

She also talks about the inadequate and misleading labeling of ALL art materials, including the ones you buy at art supply stores and the common art materials sold everywhere. If you have a school-aged child that has an art class, listen to this show.


Toxics in the Arts

Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Monona Rossol

Date of Broadcast: September 12, 2013

DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio, where we talk about how we thrive in a toxic world.

And there are many, many toxic chemicals in the world. This is why we have to talk about how to be toxic-free, because there are toxic chemicals in your hairspray, toxic chemicals in your orange juice, toxic chemical in the interior of your car.

Everywhere, there are toxic chemicals. But there are also products that don’t have toxic chemicals in them, or have so many less toxic chemicals in them that really isn’t a danger.

So, you can do things to remove toxic chemicals from your home. You can do things to remove toxic chemicals from your body. And that’s what we talk about on this show.

Today, we’re going to be talking with a very interesting, very informed, very experienced woman who has been working in the field of toxics for many, many years. But first, there are a couple of things I want to tell you.

First is on the website browser I use, they give you a little quote of the day. And this morning, the quote was from Henry Ford.

He said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

And I consider toxic chemicals to be a failure. And we can just begin again. We can just say, “Okay, toxic chemicals, be gone” and begin again more intelligently.

Many people already have begun again more intelligently. Everybody can do that, and just think in a different way.

Also, this morning, I was cleaning my house. I decided that I was just really going to get rid of everything that I was no longer using and was outdated. And I was cleaning my office. And you know how papers pile up and all those things. And by the time I got to the end of it, I thought, you just need to simplify. And one way to simplify is to just eliminate the toxic chemicals. Just eliminate everything that has toxic chemicals in it. And then life is much simpler because what’s left is everything that’s healthy and good for us.

So, I’ve known about my guest today. Her name is Monona Rossol. She’s a chemist, artist, industrial hygienist, and president and founder of the Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety. It’s a not for profit corporation dedicated to providing health and safety services to the arts.

Now, I have known of her—because I just met her on the phone a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve known of her for as long as

I’ve been doing my work which is more than 30 years. So this obviously says how I old I am and how old she is.

But I want to tell you that we are both still alive and kicking and working in the field of toxics.

The other day, I was talking to somebody on the phone, a young man who made reference to people who were born after 1970 not knowing how to use computers. And I said, “Oh, that puts me in that category.” And he says, “No!” And I said, “Yeah.” And I said, “How old do you think I am?” And he said, “30 years old.” And I said, “Hahaha.” He said, “It must be because you don’t use toxic chemicals.”

And I think that’s true. People who are away from toxic chemicals are much younger much longer.

So hi, Monona.


DEBRA: How are you doing today?

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, I’ve had such a schedule because, I don’t know if you know, but OSHA has a December 1st deadline for a whole new training on chemicals […] So, every single employee is supposed to be doing this training. And the colleges, some of them are just figuring it out. So I’m like a one-legged lady in an ass-kicking contest trying to run all over the country.

DEBRA: Well, good for you. There’s so much we can talk about. I hardly know where to begin.

First, just tell us how you got interested in toxic chemicals. Why do you do what you do?

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, it wasn’t obvious at first because what I really wanted to do was be a doctor. But remember that was the ‘50s. And I also was raised in show business. Now, there’s no discrimination in show business because as long as men can’t sing soprano, you didn’t have a problem.

So I left my family at 17, got off the road, and enrolled in the university, got all A’s, and expected to be welcomed in medical school. And of course, the courts had just decreed they had to take 10% women, and they gave us this lecture telling us how they hated us and they didn’t want us there. And I just gave them the sign of the finger and left.

So, I got a degree in chemistry instead with a minor in math. I wanted to be a chemist. And in fact, the industrial lab I went to work for was going to pay my way through graduate school in chemistry.

However, I was a member of the NAACP and participated in marches. I couldn’t get security clearance. And when they found that out, they had no use for me. So then I thought, “Well, I’ll go into arts.” Surely, there’s no discrimination.

And it was the worst of all!

Nevertheless, I worked as a research chemist at the University of Wisconsin to put myself through art school. And every day I went from one department to the other and back again. And it dawned on me, I was seeing the same chemicals in both departments. I was seeing acids for etching and solvents and pigments and dyes and all of the same stuff I was seeing in the chemistry department.

So, I started doing lectures on this, and people just walked out. And I thought, “You know? I found something that’s obvious, and it’s true, and it makes people this mad, it’s probably a good thing.”

And so, it always was a sideline. And sooner or later, it took over everything that I did because there isn’t really anybody else that really does this in this area. I mean, there are industrial hygienists, and there are safety professionals, but very few with real expertise in theater and in arts.

DEBRA: Yes, I’m very impressed with how you brought your interests in toxics into a very specific area that you have an interest and experience in. And I think it’s wonderful because, you’re right, that nobody could—somebody would need to have—like I can’t do it. I’m not an industrial hygienist or a chemist, but as a consumer advocate, I can look at other products that I’m familiar with. But I’m not familiar with the world of art materials like you are.;

And so you are absolutely the perfect person to do it. And I’m sure many people are very grateful that you are doing that.

MONONA ROSSOL: It is also a tricky field. I mean, I carry $2 million in liability insurance. And I plan buildings. It’s not an easy field for people to do. It can’t be just because people are interested.

And in fact, if this radio broadcast is heard by somebody who really has degrees in chemistry and expertise in both fields, I’ll give them the corporation. I’m really looking for someone to help out with some of this work because it’s far too much for me.

DEBRA: Well, and I’m sure there’s going to be more because, as more and more people become familiar with the problem, and that there is more acceptance that toxics are a problem—I understand that years ago, people would just walk out and say, “What is she talking about?” It’s sometimes a difficult thing to confront.

So, I’m looking at your biography here on your website—it’s the website—and there’s just a whole list of things that you do, including things like doing building planning to put in the proper ventilation into buildings so that art materials can be used.

Before we go on, because I want you to tell us a lot about the toxic chemicals in the arts and better alternatives, but can you explain what an industrial hygienist is?

MONONA ROSSOL: Doesn’t it sound like we clean teeth in a factory?

DEBRA: Yeah!

MONONA ROSSOL: It really does. It means we look at various workplaces and look at all of the issues having to do with health and safety and protective equipment and so on in those places—and advise.

And my areas are primarily in ventilation and ventilation design and in training toxic chemical protection (protection of workers from toxic chemicals and so on).

Over the years, I’ve become a regulatory expert by virtue of—I’ve been reading federal register in hard copies since 1977. I don’t know if anybody else is that crazy.

DEBRA: I read a little bit of federal register, but probably not as much as you.
We need to take a break, but we’ll be right back. I’m Debra Lynn. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. And my guest today is Monona Rossol, chemist, artist, industrial hygienist, and savior of artists from toxic chemicals. And we’ll be right back.


DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Monona Rossol, chemist, artist, industrial hygienist, president and founder of Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, a not for profit corporation that addresses the health and safety in the arts. And she’s also the author of nine books—isn’t it, nine books?


DEBRA: And I think that your first book was in 1990, is that right?


DEBRA: 1986, that’s right. I see one down here in 1986. My first one was in 1984.

MONONA ROSSOL: Okay, there we go.

DEBRA: So, we’ve been doing this for about the same period of time. So, the field of arts is a very wide field. I’m trying to figure out where to start to ask you a question because you cover everything from, I guess, painting and sculpting, to theaters.

Give us an overview of the kinds of things that you work with.

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, I actually have two hats. You know me as the president of Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, which is for anyone who calls in the arts at all. But I’m also the safety officer for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local USA829. So I get to all the film locations, and all of the TV studios and all of that kind of thing as well.

And we’ve also formed here in New York something called a New York Production Locals. So when I go on those […], I’m talking to everybody, including SAG and everybody.

So, it’s a very interesting career. And that’s why I’m sure I couldn’t be doing all of this if there were a lot of other people to split up this work. But when I walk into an art studio, or even if it’s a private studio or whatever, what I’m looking for is the things they probably looked at over and over but don’t see.

DEBRA: Like what?

MONONA ROSSOL: A lot of the electrical hazards, a lot of chemicals that they could replace for safer ones. Sometimes, there are ventilation systems they think work, and they don’t. Many private artists really don’t have ventilation. And they think they can by just putting a fan and a window. And sometimes that’s actually counterproductive if they don’t know where the air is coming from in that […]

So, there all those basics. And sometimes, we can fix these things by just explaining to them what the principles are, why we’re going to put the fan somewhere else, and we’re going to do this. And after all these years, very often, if there is a solution, I’d probably know it.

DEBRA: I’m sure you do. I understand that because it’s easy for me to walk into a house, in a different environment, I can go into a house, because I’ve gone into so many of them, I can immediately point out where the toxic chemicals are. And it’s the same toxic chemicals in all the houses. People are using the same kind of materials and products and they’re all being toxic.

And so, I would imagine that you’re doing pretty much what I do when I walk in a house as you’re looking and finding the toxic chemicals and showing people how to replace them with something safer.

MONONA ROSSOL: Getting all those little hidey holes where the bad stuff is hiding out.

DEBRA: Yeah, yeah. So, what are some typical toxic chemicals that you find in the arts?

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, of course, archival pigments are not FDA-approved food dyes. All of the pigments are toxic. And there’s a mistaken type of labeling that tells you these things are non-toxic. Well, that’s just not possible.

They’re either untested organic pigments, or they are metallic pigments—almost all of which are toxic. They can be based on cadmium, lead, chrome, mercury, or whatever.

Because art materials are exempt from the Consumer Lead Laws, they also have their own very, very inferior labeling standard, which literally can call untested chemicals non-toxic. And many times, they will call lead products as non-toxic because the toxicologist who okays that labeling will say, “Well, yes, if it’s used as directed, they shouldn’t get more exposure than we think is okay.” Well, okay, for who, number one; and number two, cyanide plating baths are non-toxic if used as directed too. I would really like to know what’s in it. And I’ve never seen artist use the material as directed. So, that’s just […]

It’s really important to change the labeling, change people’s attitude, so that they can look at these things with the eyes that they need to, to realize that they’re not what they think they are, that the organic pigments have not been tested for long-term toxicity, and many of them are in chemical classes that we know will be toxic or cause cancer if they ever are tested.


DEBRA: Oh, there we go! Here we go. So, I think you’re hearing me now.

I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. We just had a technical difficulty with my computer. So Monona, are you there? Okay, we’re getting our guest back on the line.

So, we’ve been talking about toxic chemicals in the arts. And I didn’t hear the last thing that she said, but we’ll get this all sorted out. And I’m just writing a note to my producer here. Computers are interesting things.

MONONA ROSSOL: Yes, I’m here.

DEBRA: Oh, good. Let’s get back to what we were talking about.

MONONA ROSSOL: When was I talking to air?

DEBRA: You were just talking to air.

But I wanted to ask you a question. You mentioned about the labeling laws don’t apply to art materials. Are we talking about professional art materials or commercial art materials that people would buy at the drugstore or art material store? What are we talking about?

MONONA ROSSOL: Children’s, everything. Everything comes under a separate law. It’s a separate amendment to the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. And I’m one of the full activists that got it passed. We thought we were doing a good thing. And it turns out to be absolutely the worst thing we could have done.

What this law does is it institutes an American Society of Testing Material Standard called ASTMD4236. It’s a chronic hazard labeling standard. In other words, acute tests very often are done on chemicals like whether you put it in your eye, you go blind or you swallow it, you drop dead. But things like cancer, birth defects, long-term organ damage, those things weren’t being tested for at all in the ‘80s, not at all.

DEBRA: That’s right.

MONONA ROSSOL: So we got a law because there were all of these products for children that contain asbestos, powdered asbestos, and lead, and all kinds of things.

So, we did get this law in. But unfortunately, we were young and dumb. And the way the law reads is a toxicologist reviews the ingredients as provided by the manufacturer and then certifies the labeling as meeting the standard.

And if he decides that it is non-toxic, then they certify that they can use that label. And if he certifies it, it doesn’t need any warnings. And if it’s really serious, he will specify the warnings. And then, you will see that all are materials sold legally in this country say “conform to ASTMD4236.”

DEBRA: And it says non-toxic right on the label.

MONONA ROSSOL: Right! And who pays the toxicologist for the review?

DEBRA: The manufacturer.

MONONA ROSSOL: Yeah, yeah […]

DEBRA: But we shouldn’t just ignore those labels.

MONONA ROSSOL: Oh, yes. Oh, please, worse to ignore them.

Plus, you see, if you were not using that system, it says 1% of the toxic material or 0.1% of a known non-carcinogen, you have to declare it on the material safety datasheet so we can at least find out if there’s some real bad stuff in there. But the people who label under ASTMD4236 simply reference the standard and tell you nothing—absolutely nothing.

So, it’s a terrible law. I’ve called for having it repealed because it’s just not working at all.

DEBRA: So, should parents be concerned about children—like you think crayons and markers—

MONONA ROSSOL: I would be. Here’s what I would tell all parents.

DEBRA: Please tell all parents.

MONONA ROSSOL: Those are not food dyes. And even if they were food dyes, I wouldn’t want my kid playing with red #40.

They need to not do things like finger painting, which kids love that. But you need to teach kids, if it’s brightly colored, you don’t put your hands in it and whoosh around in it. You need to teach them common sense. We have to stop breaking out the cookies and the juice after the class because these things have long-term issues. It’s just common sense.

DEBRA: I remember in school, they were just taking the finger paint—and not even the finger paint, tempera paint and stuff—and we were just putting our hands in it. Are they still doing that?

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, absolutely! Well, if it wasn’t for crayons, I’d have gone hungry as a child. I don’t know about you, but we need to not do that.

DEBRA: Well! I’m so glad that you’re telling us about this because I thought that if it says non-toxic on the label, and that there is an organization behind it that it should mean that when they say a toxicologist is checking this out.

MONONA ROSSOL: It doesn’t work. I’ve actually done two lawsuits where I was retained as an expert for brain damaged kids. We’ve got big settlements from the ceramic glaze people. And that toxicologist was on the other side of those losing cases.

I have a long history with this labeling. It is not what people think it is. And I would just really counsel people not to pay any attention to it and use common sense in working with the art materials.

The real secret to industrial hygiene is nobody was ever harmed by a chemical to which they were not exposed. So get it off your skin. Don’t snort it.

DEBRA: That’s the first rule of poisoning is that the first thing you do when somebody is poisoned is take them away from the poison. If you’ve been exposed to something that’s poisonous, go out of the room, throw up the poison if you ate it.

That’s the first thing that they do, is to take people aware from the poison. I think why not just stay away from the poison to begin with?

MONONA ROSSOL: Way back since the renaissance, and even way before, there was this thing we called a brush. If the paint goes from the tube, to the pallet, to the brush, to the canvass, you didn’t have an exposure. But if you can’t get it to your head, and you’re going to be putting your hands on that, it’s just not smart.

Lead is a skin absorber. We don’t know about many of the other metals.

DEBRA: So basically, you don’t want to put your hands in it. So, if a child were using crayon, but not touching it, or using paints with a brush, that would be safer than putting their hands in it or eating the crayon.

MONONA ROSSOL: Yes. And the art room should not be a kitchen.

DEBRA: Certainly! You put down a sandwich, and it gets paint all over it.

MONONA ROSSOL: And dust doesn’t settle everywhere, but the coffee cup. We just have to get common sense.

DEBRA: Yes, it is common sense. Wow! I’m just sitting here, so stunned to hear this because it’s a lot worse than I thought.

So, people can get material safety datasheets for the art materials, but they don’t say anything, you said.

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, here’s the really interesting thing. You called at a perfect time because just about the time people finally learn about material safety datasheets, bingo, you’re going to have to learn a new name. It’s going to be a safety datasheet now.

DEBRA: Tell us about that.

MONONA ROSSOL: It’s going to be a safety datasheet now.

All the laws had changed. And the reason is we either have to change all of our safety datasheets and our industrial labels.

The art materials labels aren’t going to change, but the industrial materials have to change. And a lot of the stuff that you buy in the hardware store, a lot of that’s all going to change because, if we don’t, we can no longer expect export to the rest of the world because the rest of the world has passed us by.

The Europeans were the first to adopt a UN system of labeling and safety datasheets that makes a lot more sense than the crud we’ve got. And almost every other country in the world has adopted it. So we have no choice. And it’s a joy because this new safety datasheet has 16 sections. It’s very detailed. It’s not up to the manufacturer what he wants to say and how he wants to say it.

DEBRA: When do these go into effect?

MONONA ROSSOL: They’ve got until December 1st to do the training. And by 2015, they’ve got to be completely switched over.

So, it’s a very interesting thing. And how many people know it? It’s law. I’m amazed that people don’t know, but this has happened.

Well, one of the things is nobody watches the OSHA regulations because they haven’t basically changed essentially since 1971 when OSHA was founded. Every time they tried to change something, the industry would form coalitions, take them to court, and get it reversed. So, your quality standards to the workplace are still primarily 1971 ones.

So, it’s been a hassle. But this change went right through because industry can’t really fight it. It’s not up to us. So, there is a little speed on the horizon there.

They’re still not going to do what the Europeans are doing in terms of their toxicity labeling because they’re going to either tell you the tests or the words “no data available” are going to be on each test blank, so that we will really know that most of the chemicals that we’re using have never been tested for cancer, never been tested for reproductive hazards, never been tested for any of this. Nothing you use has been tested. We think they have, but they haven’t.

DEBRA: No, they haven’t.

MONONA ROSSOL: And you’ll know. You think somebody must be testing. No! They’re absolutely not. They test when there’s a pile of bodies, and somebody has to find out why. That’s always been the case.

DEBRA: Why do you think that is the case? Why do you think that all these chemicals are being allowed on the market?

MONONA ROSSOL: That’s really simple because it started in the Industrial Revolution. It’s never been any different. The only thing that’s been different is advertising, which we’re a bunch of fools to read.

When Madam Curie and her husband worked out isolating radium, what happened? People said, “Look at that. It glows in the dark. It must be good for you.” They put it in patent medicines.

DEBRA: And they put it in dishware. There used to have glow in the dark dishware.

MONONA ROSSOL: There are only two steps to progress. And that’s been two in the rest of the world too until recently, until Europe woke up and spilled the coffee. Find the chemical, find the market source. There’s never been any testing in between.

And so, I’m looking at the Chemical Abstract Service website right now on my computer.

DEBRA: Oh, yes, let’s talk about that.

MONONA ROSSOL: There are 73,193,912 chemicals that have been registered. Now, if I waited a second, it will be 13. You can watch the counter. It’s 13 now.

DEBRA: Well, we need to take a break actually. We need to take a break, and let’s find out when we come back from the break what the number is.

You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And I’m talking with the marvelous Monona Rossol about toxic chemicals in the workplace, in art supplies, in our children’s art supplies, in our homes. She’s just a wonderful source of information, and we’ll back right after this.


DEBRA: I switched from microphone through the computer to telephone, and I noticed I still have my microphone on. I was hoping that if I’d just unplug it, it didn’t get sound over there and sound over here. Anyway, I’m back. And we’ll continue.

So, what’s the number?

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, 73 million, of course, is the big one. When I wrote my book, “Pick Your Poison” in 2011, it was 50 million. It’s now 73,193,994. So it will probably, while we’re talking here, pop over to 73,194,000. It’ll pop over to.

And there are about a thousand chemicals worldwide that have been evaluated for their cancer effects. Figure it out!

It’s just popped over.

DEBRA: I’m just looking my book, Toxic-Free. When I wrote my book, Toxic-Free, a few years ago—let’s see what the number was then. Oh, here! Now, what’s the date on my book? It was published in just a couple of years ago. Copyright 2011. So, this was in 2010 when I was writing this. And I wrote it on Page 15. On that day, it was 57,110,200. And in the time it took me to type that number, it has switched to 201.

MONONA ROSSOL: In 2009, when Europe had adopted this rule that I was talking about to change all of this and to force industry to test the 30,000 high production volume chemicals that they want tested, that’s when the speed really increased. In 2009, they were registering chemicals at a rate of 25 per minute. So, it was just awesome.

And it’s infinite. If you know anything about chemistry, it’s infinite. There’s no end to the number of chemicals that they can invent. And 21 million of those are available for quick catalog purchase right now.

DEBRA: 21 million! You know, when people talk about chemicals, just like the news media, they say there are 80 million chemicals, but there’s way more than 80 million—not 80 million, they say 80,000 chemicals. And those are the ones that are always used.

MONONA ROSSOL: 84,000 is the number in TSCA, the Toxic Substance Control Act that EPA has control over supposedly.

But EPA has no control over those chemicals because, in order to force industry to test any of them, they have to prove beyond doubt—in fact, usually in court—that there is a substantial risk.

Well, how do you prove a substantial risk when the whole definition of this is is there is no data? It’s a catch-22 law. And that’s why of the 83,000 until just recently, they only tested around 200 of those 84,000.

DEBRA: And then what happens—now please confirm this for me, for our listening audience. Then what happens is that these toxic chemicals go out into the market, and people get sick. And then, they excited about something bisphenol-A, and then there are some studies, and then maybe they ban it.

MONONA ROSSOL: That’s right. And usually, it’s only after there are complaints, issues, somehow that come up.

And industry loves it when the activists get together and ban a chemical. Oh, my goodness, they know you’re wasting your time, and your energy, and your money to do this. Bisphenol-A, bisphenol-S, bisphenol-C, bisphenol-F are already in your bottles. What do they do? We don’t know! There’s no point banning a chemical if you aren’t going to make them test the substitute for that chemical.

DEBRA: So, given all this, given that there are all these toxic chemicals out there, and they’re everywhere, and if we ban one, there’s just another one coming down the pike every second, what’s the number now? Are you still on the website?

MONONA ROSSOL: Yes, 72,194,039. So, it flipped over to the 4000 and it’s now 4039 on the end. That was 40.

DEBRA: And to think that’s while we were talking. And listeners, Monona and I talked about starting the clock on this at the beginning of the show, and then we forgot to do it. So we were going to find out how many new toxic chemicals are introduced during the period of time of this show. You can see how fast it’s ticking. And this is […]

MONONA ROSSOL: Well, I did write it down. I wrote down the number just we before we started talking. So when we finish, let me know and I will subtract it and tell you.

DEBRA: Okay, good. Good! I’m glad you did that.

So, what is your recommendation? What is your recommendation given that we are living in this toxic experiment? What would you like to talk about?

MONONA ROSSOL: The thing we can do, all of us, is stop being fools. Stop believing the advertising. And stop believing that somebody is testing and somebody is looking out for us. If you just get that right there, you’ve made a difference.

Second of all, we have to start talking to people and the activist organizations about not being pansies and banning chemicals one at a time without asking for testing. I know there’s a Lautenberg bill that you could support, but that list was 200 chemicals, revolving list. That’s not the real issue.

We have to open the discussion again on what’s really going wrong because we’re wasting our time. And industry will be able to do a dance around what people are planning now.

Really, education is it, and political action is it, because you can’t protect yourself. The computer you’re looking at, the computer I’m looking at, you can’t sell that in Europe. You cannot your computer in Europe. Why? Because it contains the polybrominated biphenyl ethers that are banned over there, some of the phthalates that are in there. They’re coming out in your house […] They’re in your urine and then in your blood. They’re in there. That computer is made with lead, cadmium, mercury and chrome. You can’t sell that in Europe. They make them without.

Why don’t we know that? Why don’t we just tell industry, “Hey, the ones you make for Europe? Make them for us. We’ll pay the extra buck and a half.”

That’s what we’ve got to do. We have to inform ourselves. We have to tell industry.

What we don’t get is government will really do what we want it to if we get together and make them. We do have that ability.

But nobody wants to spend the time, the energy, nobody wants to learn anything. I’ve never seen a culture that doesn’t want to learn.

But it’s tough. I train and I could tell you that there’s a culture out there that just wants to be left alone to do whatever they’re doing now. We have to change that. And I don’t know how.

But all of the other things—trying to avoid this, trying to avoid that, it’s helpful. But damn, it’s not getting at the root of the problem.

DEBRA: No, it’s not getting at the root of the problem. In my life, I’ve seen it for myself and for other people that if you make life choices, you can protect yourself to a certain degree. My health used to be very bad because of my toxic chemical exposures. And now, it’s much better. And even at my age, people don’t think that I’m my age. I think that toxic chemicals actually make you look older. They damage your skin and all those kinds of things.

People are interested in anti-aging. Toxic chemicals, avoiding them, will certainly help you look younger.

I forgot what I was going to say. Toxic chemical moment. What were we talking about before?

MONONA ROSSOL: We were talking about things that you can avoid to make life better.

I mean, if you stop eating shellfish—by the way, did you see the new study, the 212 chemicals that the Centers for Disease Control is monitoring in all of us, and all those PCBs, and all that stuff?

DEBRA: Is there a new one? I saw one about…

MONONA ROSSOL: There was one done in Europe. Exeter University in London took all of that data and divided it by socioeconomic status.

DEBRA: I haven’t seen that.

MONONA ROSSOL: The poor have high levels of nine substances. And they’re the ones you’d expect—lead, cadmium, industrial chemicals like antimony, the cheap phthalates that are in vinyl plastics and a few other things.

But the rich got a dose. Boy, do they get a dose. That’s really good news to me. They got it from sunscreen, they got it from shellfish. They get mercury and cesium and thallium.

DEBRA: I’m going to look up this study.

MONONA ROSSOL: Look up Exeter UK socioeconomic data. They divided the data by socioeconomic status. It’s on—I think it’s EPH. I should be able to find it. Environmental Health Perspective, I think it’s there.

DEBRA: I’ll be able to find it.

MONONA ROSSOL: Yes, it’s cool. I just wrote an article about it. I can send you that too.

DEBRA: Well, tell us what the number is because we’ve only got a second.

MONONA ROSSOL: The number of what?

DEBRA: The number that’s on the…

MONONA ROSSOL: Oh, the number, okay. I’m going to check it now.

DEBRA: That’s the final music. We’ll just keep talking over it.

MONONA ROSSOL: Yeah, 484 chemical were invented while we talked.

DEBRA: Thank you so much Monona. Just go to Toxic Free Talk Radio, and go to her website,. It’s and find out her website. Go there. And thank you so much. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. Bye!



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