Taking on the Toxic Soup - Why We Fight for Safer Chemicals

Test tubes, table of elements. Photo credit: Ben Schonewille / Shutterstock

From before we are born until the time we die, we are repeatedly and regularly exposed to toxic chemicals with the potential to seriously harm our health. Toxic chemicals can be found in our homes, schools and workplaces – in products we use on a daily basis. Due to loopholes in our national chemical policies, a range of products-from personal care products to cleaning products, toys to pet products, furniture to clothing and more – can all contain dangerous chemicals.  Thanks to advances in modern science, evidence continues to mount linking asthma, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive damage, and a host of other diseases and disorders to toxic chemicals in our everyday products. This is more than an environmental issue- it is a health and justice issue as well. 

A healthy environment should not be a luxury; unfortunately, public policy on toxic chemicals has not been updated in decades. The result is an outdated system that does not protect us from toxic substances, which often end up in our body without our consent.

Clean Water Action is working on the state and the federal level to address the problem and ensure we all live in safer, healthier communities. We work with local and national groups to pursue environmental justice by holding polluters accountable and engaging elected officials. Together, we present a strong, unified voice for environmental justice in communities and neighborhoods across the United States.

We are also joining with allies across the country to press product manufacturers and retailers to phase out chemicals of concern in their products and in their stores, and replace them with safer alternatives so that our health is better protected . Collectively, our actions will help guarantee a healthier future for our families and our communities. To reach this goal of a healthier tomorrow, we must:

  • Take the precautionary approach: Phase out toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives, breaking the cycle of disease by preventing exposure to hazardous chemicals. Require all chemicals be tested for negative health and environmental effects.
  • Identify chemical ingredients in products, allowing consumers to make informed decisions.
  • Develop stronger right-to-know rules on chemical use, storage, emissions and disposal.
  • Protect the health of the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, young children and workers who are exposed daily to toxic chemicals on the job.

In a world awash with so many potential toxins it is difficult to be sure what products are and are not safe to buy. We know we can’t shop our way out of this problem, it is too complex and multi-layered. However, we can take initial steps to become a more informed consumer , and avoid known hazards in everyday products. The user-friendly site www.healthystuff.org has the latest news on the most common everyday products.