Just 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible to bring leading physicians, scientists and advocates together in a consensus on toxic chemicals and neurological disorders in children, says Maureen Swanson. But with the science increasing “exponentially,” she said the time was ripe for a concerted call to action.
Flame retardants aren’t just found in your furniture. It’s likely you also have detectable amounts of the chemical in your body too, which is pretty worrisome considering the growing amount of research connecting flame retardants to serious health risks. Researchers have linked to the chemicals to reproductive health problems, adverse neurobehavioral development in kids, and endocrine and thyroid disruption. And so the question arises: Do the risks of today’s flame retardants outweigh the benefits?
Recent pieces address the American Chemistry Council and flame retardants; the avian flu that’s hitting Midwestern poultry farms; what the next labor fight will tackle; and more.
Today, Maine’s legislature held a hearing on the Toxic Chemicals in the Workplace Act, a proposal to require employers to identify harmful chemicals in the workplace and replace them with safer alternatives. It’s the perfect example of state action on behalf of worker safety and exactly the kind of measure that might no longer be possible under two congressional proposals aimed at overhauling the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.
Introduction of a new TSCA reform bill is expected some time this spring. In the meantime, The Pump Handle takes a look at what's at stake in TSCA reform and why the outcome matters to those who care about protecting and improving occupational and public health.
San Francisco women firefighters take part in first study on firefighting exposures and breast cancer
In the span of just a couple years, five of Heather Buren’s colleagues at the San Francisco Fire Department were diagnosed with breast cancer. At first, Buren thought the diagnoses were part of the unfortunate toll that comes with age. Still, something felt amiss — “it just felt so disproportionate to me,” she said.
Searching for safer chemicals – but safer for whom? New EPA flame retardants report highlights the dilemma
When a widely used chemical is identified as an environmental health hazard and targeted for phase-out and elimination, among the most challenging questions for those involved with making such a chemical are: What to use instead? and Will the replacement be safe? The US Environmental Protection Agency’s report identifying alternatives to the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) illustrates how difficult those questions can be to answer.