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Boston holds hearing on flame retardants in public spaces

Posted on Nov 9, 2015

 At City Council hearing, Boston considers updating its Fire Prevention Code to better protect health and safety.


119hearingBOSTON, Mass. (November 5, 2015)—During a hearing held by the Boston City Council’s Committee on Public Safety, health care leaders, firefighters, moms, scientists, students, advocates, and others called on the City of Boston to update its fire code to allow schools, hospitals, libraries, and other institutions to furnish their buildings with flame retardant-free furniture when automatic fire sprinklers are present.

 The flammability standard required for upholstered furniture in public spaces by the Boston Fire Prevention Code can only be met by adding large amounts of flame retardant chemicals to the furniture.  Commonly used flame retardants can pose a threat to human health and the environment.  Flame retardants can cause cancer, disrupt thyroid hormones, and affect brain development, including lower IQ and problems with motor skills and attention.


Fire fighters and advocates urge phase-out of toxic flame retardants

Posted on Jun 19, 2015

Ed Kelly, President, Professional Firefighters of MassachusettsFor Immediate Release:  Thursday June 18, 2015

(Boston, MA) At a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security today, Massachusetts firefighters, citizens, scientists, health professionals, workers, and educators seeking preventive action on toxic hazards called for swift passage of a bill that would help to protect firefighters and children from toxic flame retardants. The legislation, H. 2119, The Children and Firefighters Protection Act would ban the use of hazardous flame retardants in children’s products and upholstered furniture.

“Fire fighters have cancer rates three times higher than the general public,” said Edward Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (pictured testifying at right). “When we enter a home fire we breathe in gasses and toxins from flame retardants that put us at a higher risk. We're calling on the legislature for swift passage of this bill as it will no doubt save lives.


Furniture Retailer Phase Out of Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals

Posted on Jan 28, 2015

Flame_retardantAlliance for a Healthy Tomorrow Calls On Other Major Retailers and Massachusetts to Follow Suit

Boston, MA – Several of the nation’s largest retailers confirmed late last week that they are phasing out furniture with toxic flame retardants chemicals, which have been linked to cancer and learning and developmental disabilities in children. However the pace of the phase-outs and disclosure of the contents of the furniture remains a muddle according to public health advocates in Massachusetts, and they are urging the nation’s biggest furniture retailers to provide better disclosure.


New Study: Hidden Dangerous Chemicals in Halloween Costumes

Posted on Oct 23, 2014


Kids shouldn't have to miss out on Halloween fun in order to protect their health.

An alarming new study has found hidden dangerous toxic chemicals in popular Halloween costumes and party supplies. The study was released by the Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff.org project, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and Clean Water Action. The nonprofit Ecology Center tested 106 types of Halloween gear—purchased at national retailers such as CVS, Kroger, Party City, Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens—for substances linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer.  Advocates and parents in Massachusetts expressed outrage and dismay about the findings and called for legislators and retailers to act to ensure that consumer products are made safely.



Proposed bill fails to protect public health

Posted on May 16, 2014


This past February, U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the Environment and Economy Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a problematic draft bill titled the “Chemicals in Commerce Act”, which would replace the already limited toxic regulation currently existing under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  

In late April, the subcommittee held a hearing of the revised bill, at which (not surprisingly) industry witnesses hailed it as making effective reforms, while advocates called it out for doing more damage than good in protecting public health. 

As of late May, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to hold a bill mark-up session very soon.

This bill thinly disguises itself as a measure to protect public health, but in reality disregards years of work by scientists, environmental and health advocates, and state legislators to push for reform against the urgent toxic chemical crisis. “In essence, this draft bill has the potential to make a bad situation even worse”, reads a statement from the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund.


Support Toxics Legislation in Massachusetts

Posted on Apr 30, 2013

Researcher_250A great step toward safer chemicals and consumer products was taken here in Massachusetts late last month. The Environment Committee gave a favorable report to S.354, An Act for Healthy Families and Businesses, sponsored by Senator Ken Donnelly, accompanying S.387 - a similar bill filed by Senator Marc Pacheco.  The bills are now before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Take action! Help us move The Healthy Families and Businesses Act even closer to becoming law by writing to your senator and asking him or her to support the bill.

A hearing held by the Environment Committee proved that stronger toxics legislation has huge support across the state. Ten Massachusetts citizens, including senators, nurses, activists, and business owners, all testified in support of the bill, while just three industry representatives testified against it. Supporters named friends and relatives who have been diagnosed with cancer and other chronic illnesses linked to toxic chemicals and shared their worries about the cost of failing to act. Throughout the hearing, the bill was lauded as a comprehensive and commonsense solution to the problem of toxic chemicals.


Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 filed in US Senate

Posted on Apr 24, 2013

StrollerBrigade_250The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 was introduced last week by twenty nine senators, led by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The legislation would provide long overdue fixes to the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses.

This legislation is supported by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of nurses, moms, learning disability advocates, small business owners, reproductive health advocates, cancer survivors, and many others from across the nation all coming together to protect families from toxic chemicals. Andy Igrejas, executive director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families said:

"Americans across the political spectrum have woken up to the fact that unregulated toxic chemicals get into their homes and their bodies. It is uniformly unnerving. The Safe Chemicals Act would establish common sense limits on these chemicals that are broadly popular and long overdue."


Naptime Nightmares? Flame Retardants in Day Care Nap Mats

Posted on Feb 19, 2013

Naptime NightmaresBoston--Children’s nap mats from California, New York, Washington, Alaska, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut contain harmful flame retardant chemicals, according to independent testing commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and co-released today by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT).

The flame retardant chemicals found in the nap mats, which are used in daycares nationwide, have been linked to cancer, genetic damage, impacts on fertility and reproductive health, allergies, hormone disruption, and other serious health problems. The nap mats were purchased at major retailers including Babies R Us, Target, and national online daycare supply companies. The findings were released today in the CEH report, Naptime Nightmares? Toxic Flame Retardants in Child Care Nap Mats.

Christina Michaud of Boston, mother of Marcus, age 4 and Samantha, 14 months.  “How are parents supposed to do our primary job of keeping our children safe from harm?” she asked.  “It’s horrible that companies think that it’s okay to put toxic chemicals in children’s products and that the government isn’t doing anything about it.”

Some elected officials intend to do something about it including Senator Ken Donnelly (D-Arlington) who, along with Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington), has filed An Act for Healthy Families and Businesses in the Massachusetts Legislature.  The bill would create a program to systematically replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives in consumer products wherever that’s feasible.


Recap: The Safer Chemicals Act Stroller Brigade

Posted on Jun 15, 2012

Members of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow traveled from Massachusetts all the way to Washington DC to join mothers from across the country in a Stroller Brigade march in support of the Safe Chemicals Act.

What's in your children's jewelry?

Posted on Mar 14, 2012

What's in your jewelry?

When we go into a store and purchase a product, especially a product for children, we would like to believe that someone has made sure that it is safe. Unfortunately, as many parents have come to realize, that is not the case all too often.

In the latest round of product testing to highlight this lack of regulation, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and the Ecology Center have released new research on toxic chemicals in low-cost children’s and adult jewelry.  Researchers tested for chemicals -- including lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, bromine and chlorine (PVC) –- which have been linked in animal and some human studies to acute allergies and to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. They found a lot of hazardous chemicals and the results are online at HealthyStuff.org.


New study finds toxic chemicals in hundreds of consumer products

Posted on Mar 8, 2012

Toxic Chemicals in Household ProductsToxic chemicals linked to the rising rates of endocrine disruption related disease on the rise were found in a broad array of consumer products and reported in a peer reviewed article in Environmental Health Perspectives today. The Newton based Silent Spring Institute tested 213 consumer products, including cleaning products, cosmetics, sunscreens, shower curtains, air fresheners, drier sheets, and other household goods made by Colgate, Unilever, S.C. Johnson, Johnson and Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Seventh Generation, and Ecover among other manufacturers.

Silent Spring tested 66 different chemicals, finding 55 of them in the products.  All of the 42 conventional product samples contained at least 2 and as many as 22 of the tested toxic chemicals.  Of the 43 alternative products tested, 32 contained at least one toxic chemical.


28 State Legislatures Tackling Toxic Chemicals

Posted on Jan 26, 2012

States_toxics_leg_2012_250With no action yet from Congress, state legislatures continue to work to protect citizens.

(Boston, MA) - In 2012, Massachusetts and 27 other state legislatures will consider bills that address concerns over toxic chemicals in consumer products, according to a new analysis by Safer States, a national coalition of state-based environmental organizations. Bills to be introduced this year will cover a broad list of topics, including safer alternatives to toxic chemicals to bans on toxic chlorinated Tris flame retardants and cadmium, and requirements that makers of consumer products publicly disclose chemicals in products. 

“As a mother, I want to know that children and families are safe from toxic hazards,” said Senator Katherine Clark (D), Massachusetts state senator and mother of 3. “We can and must do a better job of protecting our children and the whole family from chemicals linked to cancer and other health effects. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Massachusetts and around the country to pass legislation that moves us towards a safer society.”


Hidden hazards in the nursery: flame retardants

Posted on Jan 11, 2012

Are there toxic flame retardants in this car seat?Popular baby products, including nursing pillows and car seats purchased in Massachusetts, contain toxic flame retardants linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other health effects, according to a new report released today by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States. Children and families are exposed to the compounds, called tris chemicals, when they escape from household items and contaminate house dust and indoor air. 

In Massachusetts, the proposed Safer Alternatives Bill (S-2079) would replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives wherever that's feasible.  The program to be created by the bill would focus on toxic chemicals used in ways that result in exposure to children or workers.


New Report Finds BPA in Popular Thanksgiving Canned Food

Posted on Nov 15, 2011

BPA in Thanksgiving Canned FoodThere may be an unwelcome guest at your Thanksgiving table this year: toxic bisphenol-A.  A new report by the Breast Cancer Fund has found this endocrine disrupting chemical in canned foods used to prepare a typical Thanksgiving dinner.

BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food shows the results from testing four cans each of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup; Campbell’s Turkey Gravy; Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle); Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn, Cream Style; Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills); Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle); and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. One set of cans was purchased in Massachusetts. Single servings of almost half of the products tested had levels of BPA comparable to levels that laboratory studies have shown may cause health problems.


Mass. Senate supports federal TSCA reform

Posted on Oct 12, 2011

Massachusetts SenateYesterday the Massachusetts Senate took a stand for our health by urging Congress to reform the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act.

At the urging of Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton), the Senate adopted a resolution, "Memorializing the Congress of United States to support legislation that reforms the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976." California and Illinois  passed similar resolutions earlier this year.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), passed in 1976 under President Gerald Ford, is our nation’s main law aimed at regulating chemicals used in everyday products.  It is out of date and ineffective at protecting the public from chemicals that have been linked to cancer, learning disabilities, asthma, reproductive problems, and other serious diseases.


Mass moms join stroller brigade to demand protection from toxics

Posted on Aug 10, 2011

Be our Hero Local moms respond to increasing concerns over toxic chemicals found in consumer products, ask Congress for leadership

Boston--Today moms across the country organized local stroller brigades to demand increased protections from toxic chemicals. A local event in Boston featured moms and children asking Senators Brown and Kerry to be leaders in increasing protections for American families. Children were dressed in red capes asking the senators to “be their heroes” by taking leadership on the issue.

Defined as a “mom-led movement”, the quest for safer chemicals has gained traction among women of all demographics and political parties.  Most recently the issue has gained celebrity spokespeople like actress and mother, Jessica Alba.


Walmart bans toxic flame retardants in its products

Posted on Mar 1, 2011

Walmart bans PBDEs Recently, Wal-Mart announced to its suppliers a ban on toxic flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and that it will begin testing products to ensure that they don't contain PBDEs starting in June 2011. The December 2010 announcement names seven states which have passed laws restricting the sale of consumer products containing these chemicals. Many other states are considering following suit.

Customers bring flame retardants home by buying furniture and electronics. These chemicals don’t stay inside our TVs, though. They escape into house dust and end up on our dinner plates. Studies have shown PBDEs in fish, meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and infant formula. Research on animals shows PBDEs can cause thyroid problems, learning deficits, memory loss and possibly birth defects. (Read more about PBDEs)


Mass. and 29 other states announce chemical reform legislation

Posted on Jan 25, 2011

States_Map_2011_250 Last week, in response to continued public concern over the presence of dangerous chemicals in common household products and Congressional inaction on the matter, legislators in Massachusetts and twenty-nine other states announced legislation aimed at protecting children, families and workers from harmful chemicals. Despite well-funded opposition from the chemical industry, 18 state legislatures have already passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin – with more to come this year.

Massachusetts legislators are filing the Safer Alternatives Bill that would replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives in every day products, and introducing a resolution calling on Congress to overhaul the main federal chemical safety law, the Toxics Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).


DPH votes to ban BPA in baby bottles and cups...only

Posted on Dec 15, 2010

Babywithbottle250_altToday the Public Health Council of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health voted unanimously to ban toxic BPA in baby bottles and cups, making Massachusetts the 8th state to do so.  However, this measure is inadequate as it still leaves infants and toddlers vulnerable to exposure to the toxic BPA in infant formula and baby food packaging.  It also does nothing to reduce exposure to pregnant women, problematic because a significant time for concern about BPA exposure is during fetal development. 

Produced in quantities of about six billion pounds each year worldwide, BPA is one of the most widely used chemicals of all time. During the past decade, an explosion of research has explored the connections between BPA exposure particularly before birth and in early childhood and the health problems that are increasingly afflicting U.S. residents. In particular exposure to BPA before birth has been found in laboratory studies to predispose animals to cancer; alter brain development; and lead to early puberty in female animals. Male animals exposed in the womb produce less testosterone, have larger prostate glands, and make fewer sperm than unexposed animals. Studies have also shown a correlation between BPA and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts

Posted on Dec 8, 2010

On the Money A new study was released giving new meaning to the phrase "toxic assets." On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts set out to investigate the extent to which thermal receipt paper containing bisphenol A (BPA) has permeated the market, and whether this hormone-disrupting chemical is escaping onto the money that lies close to these receipts in people's wallets.

Researchers found that half of the thermal paper receipts tested had large quantities of unbound BPA; 95% of the dollar bills tested positive for lower amounts. Unlike BPA in baby bottles and other products, BPA on thermal paper isn't chemically bound in any way: it's a powdery film on the surface of receipts. Data from this report indicate that this highly toxic chemical does not, in fact, stay on the paper, but rather easily transfers to our skin and likely to other items that it rubs against.


New study of states shows bi-partisan support for toxics reform

Posted on Nov 17, 2010

Healthy States Toxic chemical legislation is not just for the fringe anymore.

It's a mainstream problem, and is being solved across the country on the state level by cooperation from both sides of the political aisle.

Today, we released a report (pdf) in conjunction with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and SAFER States which shows that 18 states have passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin.

Massachusetts was not among these 18 states, unfortunately, as it has not passed the Safer Alternatives Bill or other chemical policy legislation, in recent years. 


Wallpaper, vinyl flooring are another source of toxics in our homes

Posted on Oct 19, 2010

Toxics in home improvement products Largest-Ever Study of Chemicals in Home Improvement Products Finds Lead, Phthalates, Cadmium, Organotins and Other Harmful Ingredients

Calling it yet another wake up call to Massachusetts residents that toxic chemicals are a silent but serious threat to us all, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow pointed to the results of a study released today by HealthyStuff.org that found harmful chemicals including lead, phthalates, cadmium, and organotins in a number of home improvement products including flooring and wallpaper.   HealthyStuff.org is a research organization widely known for exposing toxic chemicals in children’s toys and other every day products used in homes and workplaces.


Safer Alternatives Bill receives a "favorable report"

Posted on Jul 8, 2010

ChemicalsThe Bisphenol A (BPA) public comment period is over, and there is a good chance for a positive outcome for this regulation. However, BPA is only one chemical out of hundreds that we come into contact with everyday. Our government should require companies to use safer alternatives to protect us from many of the harmful chemicals that we are exposed to in our lives. Innovation should be encouraged to keep us as safe from toxic hazards as current science allows.

Cue the Safer Alternatives Bill!  

The Safer Alternatives Bill, An Act for a Competitive Economy Through Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals (H-4865), is sponsored by Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) and Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton). It will create a pragmatic and flexible program in Massachusetts to replace toxic chemicals with safer alternatives, wherever feasible.


BPA hearings were filled with supporters

Posted on Jun 25, 2010

Elizabeth Saunders being interviewed in front of the giant baby bottle This week advocates for children's health testified at two hearings before the Department of Public Health (DPH) about their proposed Bisphenol A (BPA) regulation. Out of the 26 people who testified, 23 testified in support of expanding the regulation and only three were against the regulation.

If you were not able to attend a hearing, but would still like to submit a comment to the Department of Public Health (DPH), you can do so here.

Supporters came from all over the state to testify before the DPH. Some brought their children. Laura Donnelly gave her testimony in Boston with her youngest child in her lap. He was born with hypospadias, a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis. Hypospadias is linked to early BPA exposure in the womb.

"I'm furious I was not told the canned food I was eating was poisoning my unborn child," Laura said. She then asked the DPH to take BPA out of the entire food supply.


Canned food exposing consumers to harmful levels of BPA

Posted on May 18, 2010

Cc-rpt BPA cover 250 pixels The food in your pantry might not be as safe as you think. Meals involving one or more cans of food can cause an individual to ingest levels of BPA that have been shown to cause health effects in laboratory animal studies, according to a new study released today by The National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups.

The study, No Silver Lining, tested food from 50 cans from 19 US states and one Canadian province for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA, some at higher levels than have been detected in previous studies. 


Proposed BPA regulation doesn't offer enough protection

Posted on May 12, 2010

MA BPA baby bottleThe Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Public Health Council (PHC) met this morning to hear a presentation on the limited phase-out of BPA that Governor Patrick has directed. As we expected, DPH staff proposed a limited ban on reusable food and beverage containers containing BPA and intended for use by children three and under, which would mean baby bottles and sippy cups. PHC members asked some questions of DPH staff, but have not yet recommend further action. 

The DPH staff members made it very clear that this limited proposal is based on direction from Governor Patrick.


Safe Chemicals Act of 2010

Posted on Apr 20, 2010

USCapitol Good news! The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 was introduced on Thursday, April 15th by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA). This is the first draft of landmark legislation to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), which is our nation's outdated and ineffective law regulating toxic chemicals. 

Some of the biggest reforms in the bill are:


Governor Calls for BPA Action

Posted on Mar 3, 2010

Inside tin can

Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick announced new progress on the phase-out of BPA baby products. He directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to prepare a regulation to ban the sale of household products containing BPA. The Boston Globe published a great story today on the Governor’s announcement. This is a big step forward towards protecting the health of all developing children!

We have all worked so hard over the past two years to get to this point. Thank you so much to everyone who helped thus far.  Thousands of parents across the state have expressed outrage that they unknowingly fed their infants a hormone disrupting chemical in their baby formula and your voice has been heard.


In D.C. the wheels are turning for chemical policy reform

Posted on Feb 16, 2010

White House at Night

The effort to update and reform our toxic chemical laws is moving from the state level to the federal level and was kicked off with a US Senate hearing on Thursday February 4th. The Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health held the hearing to find out what scientists know about chemicals that are affecting our health. This is the first step in the journey to overhaul the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).  TSCA is our federal law that governs toxic chemical production and use, but it is decades-old and in desperate need of updating.

In a crowded hearing room, Senators mulled over TSCA and seemed to be in agreement that current laws are inadequate to protect families and children from health effects linked to toxic chemical exposure. TSCA is due to be updated with new legislation in early 2010.


Governor's budget funds Toxics Use Reduction Program

Posted on Jan 28, 2010

Governor Patrick Announces his FY 2011 BudgetKudos to Governor Deval Patrick!  In a step forward towards a victory for the public health and the environment, Patrick restored funding for the agencies involved in implementing the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program in his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget issued yesterday.

Particularly important is that in Patrick’s budget, money from fees paid by companies that use toxic chemicals, would be spent on funding the program to help them use and release fewer toxic chemicals.  That’s what the TURA law intended (though it’s not what’s been done in recent years), Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow has pushed for this, and it is exactly what the Governor has proposed to do.


The Health Care Costs of Toxic Chemical Exposure

Posted on Jan 21, 2010

Health_Care_Costs_Report_cover_250 What if we passed the Safer Alternatives Bill in Massachusetts or reformed the Federal Toxics Substances Control Act, how much healthier would we really be?  And how much money would we save in health care costs?  A new report by the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Campaign looks to answer just those questions.

The report authors gathered information from a variety of peer reviewed studies on the health effects of toxic chemicals which estimated that toxic chemicals cause a minimum of:


Toxic Chemicals found in bodies of Mass Nurse and Doctor

Posted on Oct 8, 2009

PSR-HazardChemicalsInHealthCare_250 Earlier this year, Mimi Pomerleau and Sean Palfrey did a bold thing: they had their blood and urine tested for the presence of toxic chemicals.

Mimi is a OB nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor at Lawrence Memorial Regis College.  Sean is professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University School of Medicine, and medical director of Boston's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Both participated in the Hazardous Chemicals in Health Care bio monitoring project conducted by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Each of 20 doctors and nurses around the country were tested FOR 62 distinct chemicals in six categories: bisphenol A, mercury, perflourinated compounds, phthalates, polybrominated dipheynl ethers, and triclosan.  These chemicals are used in products common to the health care setting, from baby bottles, hand sanitizer, and medical gauges, to industrial paints, IV bags and tubes and stain-resistant clothing.


HealthyStuff.org: new information on toxic products

Posted on Sep 16, 2009

Puppy with Toys We have good news and bad news.  Which do you want first? 

Let's start with the good news: there is a new website, just launched, where you can go to get lots of information to help you deduce which products are safe and unsafe for you, your family, and ... your pets (more on that later). HealthyStuff.org is your one stop shop for information over 5,000 common items such as pet products, women’s handbags, back-to-school products, children’s toys, cars and children’s car seats. That's what's there now, and the list keeps growing! 


A good step towards protecting MA babies from BPA!

Posted on Aug 4, 2009

BPA_examples_250 Yesterday the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a warning to parents and prospective parents: keep the chemical BPA away from your children, and stay away from it if you're pregnant. 

According to a DPH press release, "DPH is specifically advising parents and caretakers of children up to two years old to avoid the use of products that contain BPA for making or storing infant formula and breast milk. DPH is further advising pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid products that may contain BPA."

AHT has been calling on the state to ban BPA in children's products since last summer. The Massachsuetts DPH has the legal authority to ban the the sale of toxic household products that are hazardous to children.  I know that all of us in the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and our citizen activists are glad that this warning has been issued, and we now we're eager for the next step (a ban!).    Mia Davis of Clean Water Action articulated this sentiment in today's front page Boston Globe story:


CA Panel Decides BPA not Toxic

Posted on Jul 17, 2009

Baby with Bottle In California this week, a science advisory panel declared in a unanimous ruling that BPA should not be listed as a female or male reproductive or developmental toxicant. The science advisory panel in this case is the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee and their job is to advise regulators in the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on what chemicals should be put on a list. 

The list in question is called Proposition 65, which was established by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.  Proposition 65 demands that the state publish a list of chemicals known to cause developmental and reproductive toxicity. 


Letters to the Editor in the Globe

Posted on May 29, 2009

Stacked Newspapers The Boston Globe published an article, “Harvard study backs bottle concern,” on a new study that shows notable amounts of bisphenol-A (BPA) leaching out of polycarbonate water bottles. This study is the first to definitively show that drinking from polycarbonate water bottles does increase levels of BPA in urine. Thus, polycarbonate water bottles are an important contributor to the amount of BPA in people’s bodies.

The last time the Globe published a story on BPA, we were successful at getting letters to the editor published. Therefore, we decided to try again this time, especially since we knew that industry groups would try to discredit the study with letters of their own.


Bad Grades Given to Food Companies

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

Fourteen of the largest public packaged food companies still use Bisphenol A (BPA) in their packaging despite studies linking BPA to developmental problems, cancer, heart disease and diabetes, according to a scorecard (PDF) released on April 21st, 2009 by shareholder groups.

Seven companies got a grade of “F”, including Campbell, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Hershey and Del Monte because they are not taking any action to protect consumers from BPA in their can linings or other packaging.

In fact, no food or beverage company got better than a “C”.


Letters to the Editor on BPA

Posted on Mar 30, 2009

Baby BottleBoston Globe coverage of the BPA issue continues!

On Sunday, March 29th, there were three letters to the editor published in the Globe supporting for a ban on BPA in children's products.

You can read the letters from: Mimi Pomerleau of Reading, Mary Dempsey of Bellingham, and Leo Sarkissian of the Arc of Massachusetts.

Industry groups seeking to dupe the public into thinking that BPA is safe also got two letters published. These were from representatives of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association and the American Chemistry Council.


Messages in Bottles Delivered to Governor

Posted on Mar 19, 2009

8490 bottles and messages delivered to Governor Patrick Event covered on the front page of The Boston Globe

On Thursday, March 19th, 2009 about 30 parents and advocates from different parts of the State delivered 8,490 messages to the Governor at the MA State House. Some of those messages were delivered in baby bottles.

We said loud and clear that we want baby products free of toxic chemical BPA!

On Friday morning, there we were on the front page of the Boston Globe waiting to deliver petition signatures. Not shabby coverage at all!


No More Toxic Tub

Posted on Mar 12, 2009

No More Toxic TubIt shouldn’t be too much to ask that baby products be free of toxic chemicals. This is apparently not the case: according to a recent report (PDF) released by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, dozens of commonly used baby shampoos and lotions contain hazardous ingredients, most prominently formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane. 

Companies argue that the amount of formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane contained in these products is small enough to not cause any cause for concern.  The use of these chemicals is so widespread, however, that many parents unwittingly use products that contain one or both of these chemicals every time they bathe their child.


FDA Delays Taking Action on Bisphenol A

Posted on Feb 25, 2009

Baby BottleContinuing to demonstrate its reluctance to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products, the Food and Drug Administration announced that additional time was required to assess whether it is safe to use bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers.

Though the move may be considered a relative improvement over its previous assertion that BPA is safe, the FDA has ignored a growing body of scientific evidence that BPA is harmful to humans even in low exposures.

Many states have grown impatient as the Federal government has dawdled on the issue.


1 in 3 Toys Tested Contain Significant Levels of Toxins

Posted on Dec 3, 2008

Boy with BusHealth and children’s advocates released new testing results that show popular toys contain toxic chemicals known to damage children’s health (www.healthytoys.org). Researchers tested over 1,500 popular children’s toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals in time for this year’s holiday shopping season.

One in three toys tested were found to contain “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern. Lead was detected in 20% of the toys tested this year. In fact, lead levels in some of the products were well above the 600 parts-per-million (ppm) federal recall standard used for lead paint, and will exceed the U.S. legal limit in February, according to the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations.


Young Children in U.S. Polluted with Flame Retardants

Posted on Sep 4, 2008

Girl on CouchIn the first nationwide investigation of chemical fire retardants (PBDEs) in parents and their children, researchers found that toddlers and pre-schoolers typically had 3 times more of the neurotoxic compounds in their blood as their mothers.

The study suggests that U.S. children 1 to 4 years of age bear the heaviest burden of flame retardant pollution in the industrialized world.

Laboratory tests – conducted in collaboration with Dr. Åke Bergman, a preeminent environmental chemist – found that in 19 of 20 U.S. families, concentrations of the toxic chemicals known as PBDEs were significantly higher in 1- to 4-year-old children than in their mothers.


Toxic Chemicals in Cars and Children's Car Seats

Posted on Jul 28, 2008

10 Least and Most Toxic CarsMost Toxic Cars: Mitsubishi Eclipse, Suzuki Reno, BMW 128i

Most Toxic Car Seats: Alpha Sport Vantage Booster, Britax Marathon Onyx

Today the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow & the Ecology Center released the 2nd Annual Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Cars and Children’s Car Seats. Over 200 of the most popular 2008- and 2009-model vehicles and over 60 children’s car seats were tested for chemicals that off-gas from parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard, armrests, seats, and carpeting.


"New Shower Curtain Smell"

Posted on Jun 12, 2008

New Report: More Than 100 Toxic Chemicals Released from PVC Shower CurtainsNew Report: More Than 100 Toxic Chemicals Released From PVC Shower Curtains.

Legislators and Advocates Press for House Vote on Safer Alternatives Bill

Over 100 toxic chemicals associated with adverse health effects are released into the air from PVC vinyl shower curtains. These chemicals make up that "new shower curtain smell" unique to PVC vinyl shower curtains and shower curtain liners, according to "Volatile Vinyl: The New Shower Curtain's Chemical Smell," a new study released today by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, and the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ).


Baby's Toxic Bottle

Posted on Feb 7, 2008

Sisters with Baby BottleA study, commissioned by the Environmental Defense of Canada, “Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol-A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles,” (PDF) contributes to a growing body of evidence that calls for immediate protective action to reduce public exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA), especially for infants and children.

Studies conducted on laboratory animals and cell cultures have linked low doses of BPA to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other illnesses.

“As parents, we can obviously look for safer products, including plastic baby bottles made without BPA or glass baby bottles,” said Judy Robinson, Boston area mother of two.


Legislation to Reign in Toxic Chemical Use Passes in Senate

Posted on Jan 29, 2008

Precedent-setting Safer Alternatives Bill Will Prevent Illnesses

Legislation to Reign in Toxic Chemical Use Passes in SenateBoston, MA - Today the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation that will safeguard public health by replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. Supporters of An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals (The Safer Alternatives Bill) praised the Senate's action that takes the bill one step closer to becoming law. The bill would also help Massachusetts expand trade with foreign markets that have recently tightened toxic chemical standards such as the European Union.

Led by Senator Steven Tolman (D-Brighton) and Senator Pam Resor (D-Acton), efforts to move the bill forward in the Senate gained momentum in the wake of last year's product recalls over hazardous ingredients such as lead in children's toys and lipstick.


Toxics Found In Massachusetts Residents

Posted on Nov 15, 2007

Toxics Found in MA Residents Toxins are all around us. A new report issued today found that five Massachusetts residents who participated in a nationwide bio-monitoring project had all three types of toxic chemicals for which they were tested in their system.

The report, entitled “Is it In Us: Toxic Trespass, Regulatory Failure and Opportunities for Action,” found Phthalates, Bisphenol A and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in all of its 35 subjects hailing from seven states. These chemicals are commonly found in everyday products, including baby bottles, shower curtains, cosmetics and personal care products, couch cushions, computers, and toys.


Legislation to Curb Toxic Chemicals Sent to the Senate

Posted on Nov 5, 2007

Senate FloorIn a decisive step towards protecting the public from the effects of unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture gave a “favorable report” to the An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals.

The Safer Alternatives Bill, as it is commonly called, was proposed by the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow in response to a growing body of scientific evidence linking exposure to hazardous chemicals to chronic diseases.

The Safer Alternatives Bill is designed to prevent diseases and disorders such as cancer, asthma, developmental or learning disabilities, infertility, diabetes and Parkinson’s.


New Product Tests Find Lead in Lipstick

Posted on Oct 11, 2007

Applying LipstickThe phrase “beauty is pain” has now become “beauty is poison,” according to a report released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The study found that 61 percent of the brand-name red lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, a proven neurotoxin that can cause a variety of learning, language, development and behavioral problems.

Again demonstrating an alarming deficiency when it comes to regulating toxic chemicals, the Food and Drug Administration has not taken any action to protect consumers from lead in lipstick. As lipstick products are directly ingested into the body, the standard set for the amount of lead permissible in candy is comparable; one third of the lipsticks tested exceeded this limit.