Protecting Our Health from Toxic Chemicals

Toxic chemicals surround us—in our air, water, homes, and workplaces. Many chemicals used in everyday products, like plastics, cosmetics, toys,  and furniture, increase the risk of serious illnesses. Clean Water Action is working to reduce toxic chemicals in our homes, workplaces and communities. This year, we are asking Massachusetts authorities to:

  • Ban toxic PFAS chemicals from consumer products;
  • Support Massachusetts communities that have been impacted by elevated rates of PFAS in their drinking water
  • Requiring companies that manufacture, sell or distribute children’s products to disclose whether those products include toxic chemicals.  Require manufacturers to eliminate the most toxic chemicals from children’s productsl
  • Press supermarkets and big box retailers to get toxic products off their store shelves.
  • Ensure that Massachusetts addresses the risks associated with the emerging nanotechnology sector.

Last year, we won a big victory when the Massachusetts Legislature passed a law banning 11 dangerous flame retardants and giving the state the authority to restrict the use of additional flame retardants. This year, we are monitoring the law’s implementation, with a goal of adding additional flame retardants to the restricted list over the next several years.

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Protecting our Health from Toxic Chemicals

Every day, we are exposed to toxic chemicals in food, water, the environment, and consumer products. While most Americans assume that products must be tested for safety before they are put on store shelves, many of the items in stores and our homes contain chemicals known to be toxic. Many more chemicals in everyday use have never been tested for safety. Cleaning agents, personal care products, household furniture, food packaging, and children’s toys all contain chemicals of concern.

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    Mind the Store

    Consumers are exposed to thousands of harmful chemicals from the products they use every day. Personal care products, textiles, food containers and even the receipts we are handed at the register contain toxic chemicals, many linked to major health problems like cancer, infertility, and developmental issues for infants.

    Toxic Hot Seat

    Flame Retardants

    Flame retardant chemicals have been linked to cancer, learning and developmental disabilities in children and many more health issues.

    Under the wire: Mass. legislature sends bill to Governor’s desk that will protect children and firefighters from toxic flame retardants

    “This is a huge new year’s gift to all Massachusetts families and in particular firefighters,” said Elizabeth Saunders, Massachusetts Director for Clean Water Action and board member of the Alliance. “These chemicals have been putting our children and firefighters at risk for decades and it’s high time that they are removed from the products that we bring into our homes. We’re counting on Governor Baker to join the legislature in prioritizing protection for our most vulnerable by signing this bill into law.”

    From We All Live Downstream

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    February 1, 2021

    Last month, TJX—the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods, and Sierra Trading Post—announced on its website it is developing an expanded “Chemical Management” strategy

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    September 15, 2020

    Introducing carbon nanotubes, a scientific wonder substance.  You may not have heard of carbon nanotubes (or CNTs), but they are probably already part of your life.  They may be in your cell phone or computer, where they are used as semiconductors, or part of your bike frame, where they provide strength without weight.  They could even be in your tires, helping improve handling on slick roadways.

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    June 11, 2020

    At this point many people are aware of the dangers of the toxic flame-retardant chemicals that are applied to household products.  Now, widespread concern is turning into real action. Motivated by consumer interest, many manufacturers and retailers have been phasing out these chemicals and using safer, fire resistant materials. Thirteen states have already restricted the use of one or more flame-retardant chemicals.