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PSR Takes Action against Toxic Chemicals in Consumer Products

April 18, 2013

Product labels on commercial products are not required to list hazardous chemicals, so you can’t tell when you should avoid a product to protect your health. 

Now PSR and a coalition of health and environmental organizations have launched a campaign asking retailers to share that vital information with consumers.

The specified chemicals, called “The Hazardous 100+,” are found in a range of products, from cosmetics and hygiene products, to soaps, flooring and furniture.  They have been linked to cancer, asthma, hormone disruption, developmental disabilities and other serious health issues.

The campaign targets some of the largest retailers in the country, including Walmart, Kroger’s, Safeway, Home Depot, CVS and Best Buy.  Individuals are invited to send a letter to these major retailers, asking them to take the lead protecting their customers, stakeholders, and the environment.

There is no functioning regulatory system for the chemicals that end up in our homes and workplaces via consumer products.  The existing Toxic Substances Control Act does not require manufacturers to submit health and safety studies when they introduce a chemical into the market, and the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the authority to place limits even on chemicals known to be hazardous. For example, the toxic flame retardant chlorinated tris was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s because it was linked to cancer. Nevertheless, a peer-reviewed study in 2012 found that the chemical was still used widely in crib mattresses and blankets.

Efforts to reform the chemical regulatory system, like Senator Lautenberg’s proposed Safe Chemicals Act, have been blocked by chemical industry opposition.

Yet many of the chemicals are widespread in Americans’ blood and urine as detected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s biomonitoring program.

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