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How Chemicals In Everyday Products Are Killing Us

Almost every day we hear about another nasty, unpronounceable chemical found in products we use every day. Chlorinated Tris in baby mattresses, bisphenol A (BPA) in sippy cups, phthalates in vinyl dish gloves and many other unnecessary chemicals that threaten the health of our children and every American consumer. For eighteen years, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has won major victories against these kinds of toxic health threats. Using cutting-edge science and uncompromising legal action, CEH exposes harmful products and pressures major companies like Coke, Target, Macy’s and Disney to clean up their products and change their practices.
We will discuss the strategies and tactics used by CEH to successfully change the behavior of some of the world’s largest corporations. We will explain the “Toxic Shell Game” played by companies to get around regulations and share the carrots and sticks we've developed to incentivize large companies to create safer products and practices.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Public policy reform. For centuries we have allowed business to create new chemicals with few or no requirements to test chemicals for safety before they are marketed. This has resulted in too many health disasters, from asbestos to PCBs to an epidemic of childhood lead poisoning. We need state and federal policies that require companies to demonstrate that products are safe before they come to market – instead of waiting until people get sick before the government can take action.
  2. Toxic flame Retardants in the furniture in our homes. The flame retardant chemical industry has for nearly a century been pushing one new dangerous chemical after another. Paradoxically, experts say these chemicals are not effective as used in furniture and other products – yet these chemicals can cause cancer and have been linked to other serious health problems. These toxins are used in baby mattresses that our most vulnerable, our children, sleep on every night. This practice must end now.
  3. Fracking Reform. In an effort to solve our energy needs there has been a rush toward hydraulic fracturing (fracking) . But little attention has been paid to the health impact of this untested technology. Fracking relies on hundreds of chemicals that are injected underground with mass quantities of water. Chemicals used in Fracking have been linked to cancer, genetic mutations, impacts on the brain and nervous system, hormone disruption and other serious problems.
  4. End the Toxic Shell Game: Hormone altering chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA). Due to recent regulations, many suppliers have replaced BPA, especially in children’s products. But there is virtually no information about what chemicals are being used in place of BPA, and a recent study found that one replacement, a close chemical cousin called BPS, also poses hormone altering risks. Another example of the Toxic Shell Game that will not end until companies are incentivized to produce safer products.



Robert Rosenheck, Communication Director, Center for Environmental Health

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