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"Today, [one of] our [biggest] concern[s] is the uncontrolled release of chemical pollutants that come from diffuse, largely unregulated sources — from the brakes on our cars to the flame retardants in our furniture." - Governor Jay Inslee, July 2014
Chemicals, both synthetic and natural, are ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives. Nearly every action we engage in entails some degree of chemical exposure: walking on carpeted flooring, sitting on upholstered furniture, brushing our teeth, preparing and storing food, touching plastics, even breathing in dust particles. Unfortunately, our knowledge of the health effects of chronic, aggregate exposure to these chemicals is still relatively limited, and the federal regulatory system in place does little to protect us against their potential for harm, instead favoring an “industry-first” approach.
This paper offers a comprehensive examination of the class of chemical compounds known as "endocrine disruptors." We discuss the numerous reported health effects of these chemicals and provide evidence demonstrating how these effects may vary depending on the timeline of exposure. We analyze the current chemical regulatory systems in place, both on the national level as well as in Washington State, highlighting their weaknesses and offering suggestions for reform. Finally, we discuss implications of voluntary, industry-led innovations in green chemistry with a local case study, and conclude with recommendations for a comprehensive system of responsible chemical management.
Provides a brief background of the chemicals known as "endocrine disruptors." Highlights several common sources of exposure and discusses the mechanisms by which they exert their effects upon the body. Describes several of the reported health impacts of exposure.
Examines the existing system of federal chemical regulation in the United States, with particular emphasis on the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
Focuses on several of the laws and initiatives in place to regulate chemicals in the State of Washington--in particular, the Department of Ecology's Chemical Action Plans and the Children's Safe Product Act of 2008.
Lists chemical policy imperatives on both the national and state levels, and suggests potential non-legislative paths of action as well.
Presents a case study of FastFlash, a revolutionary, phthalate-free "air barrier" utilized in the construction of Seattle's Bullitt Center.