The Fight for Safer Chemicals - August 2015

August 11, 2015

Big wins on pesticides and microbeads!

This legislative session, Clean Water was thrilled to support two bills that will safeguard our environment and the health of Connecticut residents - a strong law banning plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products, and enhanced notification prior to a pesticide application on school grounds, along with restrictions on the use of pesticides on municipal playgrounds.    

This is huge!

Connecticut bans micro beads in personal care products!

Microbeads in toothpaste Microbeads are tiny beads of plastic that are used as abrasives in over 100 personal care products such as toothpaste and face scrubs. A single product may contain as many as 350,000 plastic microbeads. They pass through wastewater treatment plants and into streams and waterways where they endanger fish and wildlife. Fish eat the beads and they work up the food chain to threaten human health. Microbeads have been found in every ocean, bay and estuary in the world. A recent study done in Lake Ontario found as many 1.1 million plastic particles floating around per square kilometer.

Connecticut has passed the strongest law in the U.S. to ban microbeads, and will lead the way to changing the market in a way that will protect our water, our wildlife and our food.

Making progress to restrict pesticide use!

You have a Right to Know what pesticides are used in your parksAnother highlight for the environment is restrictions on the use of pesticides in municipal playgrounds. Clean Water, along with many other environmental advocates, fought for years to expand the ban on pesticides from elementary schools to include secondary schools and parks. This law does not go that far, but does require 24 hour electronic parental notification of pesticide applications scheduled on school grounds and restricts who can apply pesticides on municipal parks. This is a big step in the right direction.

Bill to increase the allowable amount of cadmium in children’s jewelry fails

Toxic chemicals in kids' jeweleryThe jewelry trade association worked hard to roll back our current law that restricts the amount of cadmium in children’s jewelry and actually would have increased the sub-surface amount to 330 parts per million---an increase from 75 ppm!  Thanks to all of you that sent in emails and made calls opposing this bill! 

Making gains in state purchasing!!  

Connecticut first state to award contracts for flame retardant free furniture!

We don’t often think of the state as a consumer but in fact the state purchases millions of dollars’ worth of products and has huge purchasing power with companies.  Conencticut has done great work to require the use of green cleaners, reduce the use of bottled water and require all paints to be low-VOC but we can do more!  We’re working on a campaign now to urge Governor Malloy to lead the way by continuing to require products purchased for the state to be free of toxic chemicals.  We are thrilled to report that Connecticut is one of the first states requiring furniture to be free of toxic chemical flame retardants!  This is huge news and we are proud to be leading these efforts!

Thank you Lowe's - Happy Father's DayThank you Home Depot and Lowe’s!

In June, we ran a campaign to thank Home Depot and Lowe’s for pledging to remove endocrine-disrupting phthalates from their vinyl flooring products by the end of this year. We photographed Clean Water and Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut members holding thank you signs and we posted these on our social media pages. Then, our summer intern Jackie, created this wonderful collage of the photos for posting on Father’s Day!