Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘chemicals’

Reform our broken federal chemical safety laws!

ACHM Plane Picture


Help send Mainers to Washington to demand safe toxic-free products! Send your message with them by signing the petition below.

To My Senators and Representatives,

No child should be exposed to chemicals linked to cancer, obesity, or reproductive problems. But children's health is threatened every day by dangerous chemicals in their homes.

Our nation’s chemical safety system is badly broken. The Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) is a good start but needs to be strengthened. Please help strengthen the CSIA to achieve real reform that protects our families from toxic chemicals.

Posted by on October 14th, 2013 No Comments

Marketing BPA to Kids

My nephew absolutely adores the movie Toy Story, and is particularly infatuated with the character Woody. He owns the Woody doll, loves to scream out “Howdy, Partner!,” and would probably watch Toy Story on repeat for HOURS if we let him.

I also know if my nephew saw some canned Campbell’s soup with his buddy Woody on the cover, he would beg his mom to purchase it. She most likely would, thinking, “It’s soup. It’s gotta be better for him than most of the other junk food out there, right?”


As Seventh Generation pointed out in a recent blog post, BPA is showing up in many canned products, specifically targeted to kids. The endocrine disrupting chemical was found in soups, juices, and veggies at disturbing levels. Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes was no exception.

Posted by on September 24th, 2011 1 Comment

You & The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Think about all the personal care products you use in the course of a day.  Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, make-up, baby powder, after-shave… The average American uses about 10 of these products a day.  I, for one, am generally half-asleep when applying, and not always thinking of the more than 100 unique chemicals and toxins I am exposing myself to.

Thankfully, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is thinking about it. They’ve introduced the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 to ensure personal care products we all use are free of harmful ingredients, and that the ingredients are fully disclosed to consumers.  Legislation won’t just benefit us—the consumer—but also small business and innovation in green chemistry.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been providing us with the truth behind our once-favorite brands and helping us navigate the unsafe terrain of the cosmetics and personal care aisle for years. They’ve taught us all about the well-advertised, highly toxic, unregulated products that sit on store shelves and in our homes. And now it’s our turn to support the Safe Cosmetics Act by making our voices heard. 

TAKE ACTION! Make sure your legislators understand the importance of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Already, Congressman Mike Michaud of Maine has signed on as a co-sponsor. Stand up for your health and your right to know what’s in your products!

 Tell your friends and family to SPEAK UP to your legislators; don’t let them disregard the products that affect all of us—men, women, children, and the environment.  You can also check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s list of other creative ways to get involved.

 After you contact your legislator, remember to check out Skin Deep—the database that reveals what’s in your products and ranks their toxicity.

Posted by on August 2nd, 2011 No Comments

The Truth About Tampons & Pads

There’s no denying how bad tampons are for the environment. The facts are staggering:

  • A menstruating woman uses on average 11,000 tampons in her lifetime.
  • 7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year (plus another 13 billion sanitary pads!)

In short, feminine hygiene products are polluting our rivers, lakes, streams, and world.  

What many people don’t realize is that conventional feminine hygiene products are also harming our bodies. Conventional tampons and pads contain chemicals, toxins, additives, and synthetic materials. They are often made from chlorine-bleached and pesticide-grown cotton blends. These chemicals are known carcinogens (substances directly involved in causing cancer) and are being directly absorbed by our vaginal walls.  

To really “go green,” you gotta start with your monthly visitor. Last summer, we posted some information about these hidden dangers and offered some safe, smart alternatives. Here’s to celebrating those alternatives again.

Although getting your period may be a nuisance to some women, it should never be life threatening. Thankfully, there are companies making products you can buy and feel good about, like Seventh Generation, Natracare, and the Diva Cup: They all have the health of women on their minds. 

Research on the dangers of conventional tampons is ongoing. But we have enough information and alternative options now to make conscious and safe choices for our bodies and our environment. Empower yourself, your friends, and your family, and tell them about alternative, affordable, organic, and sustainable feminine hygiene products.

Posted by on June 15th, 2011 No Comments

Maine Passes Deca Amendment

Earlier this week, the Maine Senate unanimously voted to amend a ban on the flame retardant Deca. The bill, LD 930, now gives greater flexibility for manufacturers to find safer, approved alternatives.

Deca is part of a series of PBDE (Polybrominated diphenyl ethers) chemicals that are used as flame retardants in furniture, electronics, and other consumer products.  They are known reproductive and developmental toxicants that have made their way into the environment and into our bodies.  PBDE levels in breast milk, blood and tissues have increased by a factor of 100 in the past 30 years, doubling about every five years. This is alarming--studies link PBDEs to reproductive and developmental problems, including delayed puberty. The Environmental Health Strategy Center has more information about the impacts of Deca on the health of women and children.

Last year, Maine banned Deca from shipping pellets and prohibited manufacturers from replacing Deca with other brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.  The amendment passed this week requires any alternatives to be approved by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.  We applaud LD 930 because it allows manufacturers flexibility in finding alternatives, which is important as full non-halogenated alternatives to brominated or chlorinated flame retardants don’t exist, yet. 

Developing laws that protect human health from toxic products, and creating safer alternatives should be a top priority. That’s PPNNE is working with the Alliance for Clean and Healthy Maine to advance comprehensive chemical policy reform with the passage of the Safer Chemicals Act of 2011. The policy is a long-overdue modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that provides greater consumer and worker information about toxic exposure, strengthens the Environmental Protection Agency’s oversight on harmful chemicals, and promotes innovation for safer alternatives.  

Ask Maine Senators Snowe and Collins to co-sponsor the Safer Chemicals Act of 2011 and to continue Maine’s leadership on chemical policy reform.

Posted by on May 26th, 2011 No Comments

Ana Soto to Speak at UVM (2011)

Update: This event occurred in 2011. For more information about Ana Soto, please visit the Tufts website


Ana Soto to Speak at UVM
Thursday March, 31st,  2011 @ 4pm
Carpenter Auditorium, UVM Campus
Given Building E131

We’ve been sharing a lot of information with you on environmental health recently. Well here is your opportunity to hear it FIRST hand, from one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Ana Soto, an amazing woman and a pioneer in the field.

Ana Soto, M.D., is Professor of Cell Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Professor of Cancer Development at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, U.K. Dr. Soto was one of the earliest investigators of endocrine disruption and its role in the development of cancer, and was one of twenty scientists at the 1991 Wingspread Conference who developed the term "endocrine disruptors.” Her research interests include the mechanisms of steroid hormone action, control of cell proliferation, breast and prostate neoplasias, and endocrine disruptors, including Bisphenol-A (BPA). She is now using animal models, 3D tissue cultures, and mathematical modeling to study the role of stroma-epithelium interactions in carcinogenesis and in tumor regression


Posted by on March 30th, 2011 No Comments

Living Downstream Screening in Winooski

Living Downstream Screening in Winooski

You’re invited to a screening of the documentary Living Downstream at Community College of Vermont in Winooski. The film takes the personal story of ecologist and cancer survivor Dr. Sandra Steingraber and creates a compelling look at toxins in our environment and the implications for the health of individuals, families and communities. This is an issue of increasing importance in Vermont. Just recently the Burlington Free Press published an article on the chemical body burden of six Vermonters. Read the article here. The screening will be followed by a panel and discussion. Panelists include:

Heather Fitzgerald, CCV Winooski faculty
Jill Krowinski, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Public Affairs Director
Dr. Patti O’Brien, UVM faculty, physician, cancer researcher and breast cancer survivor.
Dave Rappaport, Seventh Generation's Senior Director of Corporate Consciousness
Rep. Suzi Wizowaty, Burlington Rep, co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Chemical Reform Bill.

When: Friday, March 25th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: CCV Winooski Sadie White room (108)

RSVP to our FB page

Posted by on March 21st, 2011 No Comments

Power of the Onesie Lobby Day!

Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed with all the talk of toxins in our bodies? Unsure of how to make a positive difference? Come to The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont's Lobby Day!!

When: Thursday, February 24th; 9:30 am –2:00pm
Where: Vermont State House --115 State Street, Montpelier.
Who: Students, Families and kids of all ages
What: A day to speak to your elected officials

Tell our legislators that more needs to be done to protect Vermonters from toxic chemicals in schools, homes, and products.  This lobby day is hosted by VPIRG, Toxics Action Center, River Network, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Mama Says, VT Public Health Association, and Voices for Vermont’s Children, and Informed Green Solutions. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Charity Carbine at charity@vpirg.orgor 223-8421 x 4108


Posted by on February 10th, 2011 No Comments

An Environmental Health Night @ UVM

With growing awareness of the tightly woven connections between our environment and our health, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is making a commitment to protecting both. With a desire to share this important information with our communities we will be showing the documentary Living Downstream, an adaptation of the book by Dr. Sandra Steingraber. The movie follows Dr Steingraber and her work around the country promoting awareness of the dangers of toxic chemicals as they contaminate our world and eventually our bodies. Though the film is not set in Vermont, the issues raised are relevant in our state. Despite best intentions Vermonters, too, are exposed to dangerous chemicals via consumer products and our environment.

Please join us Wednesday, January 26th at 7pm for an evening of action as we screen the documentary Living Downstream, an adaptation of the book by Dr. Sandra Steingraber.  Watch the Trailer Here

A conversation will follow the film as we talk about the relevance of this critical link in our communities and the need for comprehensive chemical reform in Vermont.  Our hope is that you’ll agree with us that toxic exposure is unnecessary and voice your concern to your legislators here in Vermont.

Environmental Health Night: Documentary and Discussion
Wednesday, January 26th at 7pm
Sugarmaple Ballroom 4th Floor Davis Center, University of Vermont

This is a FREE Event!

Hosted by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, a member of The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont & the Environmental Studies Department.

For questions e-mail

Posted by on January 24th, 2011 No Comments

A New Year, New Law – E-Waste Collection sites in VT

Ever thought about what happens to your cell phone when you upgrade to a smart phone? Or where our big ol’ computer monitors go to with the influx of flat-screens and laptops? These and other electronics are all examples of a waste termed “E-waste” or electronic waste. As products become outdated they find a resting place (often a landfill) and the environmental implications are harmful. Electronics contain several dangerous chemicals including mercury and lead, which can seep into land and water overtime. Sadly, those bearing the burden of our electronic waste are often those in other countries. This documentary is an example of what e-waste disposal can look like abroad.

Recognizing this threat to both the environment and health, Vermont has banned E-waste as of January 1st, 2011. The law calls for the removal of electronic waste from the general waste stream and diverts it into a separate collection system. The law also includes the creation of new sites to collect E-Waste for free in every county throughout Vermont by July, 2011

Conscious consumerism includes conscious disposal, and this E-Waste regulation is a big step forward in keeping VT clean and green. This law will have multiple benefits for people and the planet. For more information, check out this full article from the Bennington Banner. So the next time you purchase a new electronic, I would invite you to take a moment to dispose of your old one properly.

Posted by on January 5th, 2011 No Comments