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

Posts Tagged ‘reproductive health’

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

Ask your Maine Senators to support The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011

Maine heroes have stepped up to the plate to defend our kids from toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems, from cancer and learning disabilities to diabetes and asthma.  In 2008, Mainers came together to pass the common-sense Kid Safe Products Act to help phase-out toxic chemicals that pose a danger to our children.  But all over Maine, too many parents still worry about buying products that are safe for their kids.  Too many families suffer from health problems linked to chemical exposure.  And too many businesses are plagued by high healthcare costs. 

Maine can't go it alone!

80,000 chemicals are currently in use--and only 200 of them have been tested for safety. It's time for reform!

We need a hero in Congress who can build on Maine's common-sense laws by fixing our national chemical safety policies, which are badly broken.  For 35 years the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)of 1976 has not protected the health and safety of our kids, allowing thousands of untested chemicals onto shelves and into our homes.  Out of 80,000 chemicals in our products, barely 200 have been tested under TSCA – clearly, it’s time for reform. 

We have a unique opportunity to fix this broken system.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, will immediately phase out chemicals that we already know are dangerous.  It will also require safety testing for chemicals before they end up in our products, and provide a lot more information to consumers.  Plus, this law would also reward innovative companies who are creating safer technologies. 

We just learned that the Safe Chemicals Act is on-track for a Committee vote this fall!

We need the Senators' support now - TAKE ACTION!

It could be a matter of weeks before the Safe Chemicals Act makes its way out of committee.  Now is the time for Senators Snowe and Collins to be our heroes by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.  Maine has already led the way passing state laws to phase out toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, and BPA from every-day products.  Now we need Maine's Senators lead the way to sensible chemical safety reform.  Urge your Senators to act now!

Posted by on October 10th, 2011 2 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

Green Halloween

My friends and I take Halloween very seriously. Each year we have a “group theme,” and work on our costumes for weeks leading up to the big day. 

Although we consider ourselves Halloween experts, we were in the dark about how horrifically toxic this holiday can be. Lead in children’s face paints, phthalates in masks, and costumes made from PVC are just a few of the ghastly truths I unveiled in my research. Luckily, thanks to several informative blogs and websites, there are ways to have a Green Halloween.

Some tips:

  1. Avoid face paint. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s Report Pretty Scary revealed children’s face paints contain lead, nickel, cobalt and/or chromium, among other unidentified ingredients like “fragrance.” If you need to paint your face, check out some of these home-made face paint recipes.
  2. Ditch the Colored Hair Sprays. They contain toxic chemicals and shouldn’t be sprayed around eyes, mouth, nose, and definitely shouldn’t be inhaled! As that is pretty much impossible to avoid, opt for a wig instead.
  3. Buy PVC-Free Masks & Costumes. Community Mama reports many Halloween masks and costumes are made from PVC (the poison plastic) which can leach harmful gender-bending phthalates. If you can’t avoid them, look for ones that are marked “PVC-Free,” or make your own from what you have at home.
  4. Avoid Phthalates in Masks & Teeth. The reason those false teeth and masks are so flexible is because they’re made with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Try making your own mask instead, or painting your face with homemade face paint.
  5. Steer Clear of Traditional Nail Polish. Most contain formaldehyde, tolulene, and acetone. Get Green Be Well recommends Hopscotch Kids or Piggy Paint as a safer alternative.
  6. Decorate Naturally. Opt for pumpkins, gourds, and cornstalks, instead of plastic decorations. You won’t be harming your guests, and it will look a lot less cheesy.
  7. Light Soy Candles.  Planet Green reports traditional candles are made from petroleum-based paraffin, carcinogens, neurotoxins, and reproductive toxins. Soy candles are safer, renewable, and biodegradable.
  8. Hand out organic, or natural treats. Organic chocolate is pesticide-free and lead-free.  It’s also full of powerful antioxidants. 

Posted by on October 14th, 2010 No Comments

Everyday Carcinogens Cheat Sheet

We know that long lists of cancer-causing chemicals, ingredients, and even lifestyle choices, can be overwhelming (and seemingly endless). But thanks to the American Cancer Society, there’s a new report out that makes identifying everyday carcinogens just that much easier. americancancersociety

The article, Top 5 Suspected Everyday Carcinogens, lists the author’s “favorite” new suspects, identifies where they are most commonly present, and explains how to avoid them. Suggestions range from moving to “the motorless city” of Mackinac Island, Michigan, to some slightly more plausible lifestyle changes, such as changing cosmetics.

So while Mackinac Island may see a small surge in population, the rest of us will probably opt to pay closer attention to the chemicals listed in our cosmetics and food packaging. To view the article, click here!

Posted by on August 10th, 2010 No Comments

VIDEO: Toxic Chemical Lobby-Exclusive Leaked Footage

There’s nothing funny about infertility, miscarriage, lowered sperm counts, early onset puberty, or any other reproductive health problem. Unfortunately, chemicals in everyday products have been linked to all of these diseases and more. Congress has the opportunity to change this by supporting the Safe Chemical Act of 2010. You can help, too, by watching this video from Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and urging Congress to make sure the products we reach for, sleep on, and eat from every day aren’t loaded with toxic chemicals.

Chemicals aren’t sitting still and neither should you. Take action today.

Posted by on July 20th, 2010 No Comments

Oil, oil, oil, Part 2

A while back we promised to keep you posted as news of the oil spill's effect on reproductive health emerged.

Well, here we are.

oilThere was a terrific piece published by Kimberly Ines McGuire of RH Reality Check that doesn't speak specifically to the oil spill (though it is mentioned), but gives a cumulative and frightening history of oil refinery and chemical industry in the Gulf Region, and its effects on the health of residents.

One snippet in particular is rather haunting:

"Residents have tested positive for exposure to some of the worst reproductive toxicants—chemicals that have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight, low sperm count, and developmental and respiratory disorders for children exposed in utero. This contamination of the air, water, and soil is so severe, and its effects so widespread, that the 100-mile stretch of Louisiana communities between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is known by residents as 'Cancer Alley.'"

You can read the entire piece here. 

Posted by on July 7th, 2010 No Comments

Environmental Health and Choice

We occasionally get dazed and confused looks when we mention Planned Parenthood is involved in environmental health.  People associate us with many things--abortion, birth control, condoms, annual exams, even cervical cancer screenings--but this environmental piece has really thrown some for a loop.

Our brilliant colleagues at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, bridged this gap with a great little video on the relationship between environmental health and choice. Enjoy!

Posted by on May 5th, 2010 No Comments

Happy Earth Day!

Sometimes it takes a little trash-talk to spark a revelation. This morning I dutifully snapped a new garbage bag, put in the garbage can, and then bent over to pick up the  sippy cup that had rolled across the floor.  Moments later, I noticed a really strong scent and a white powder floating in the air above the garbage can.  I realized the garbage bag is scented and my two year old and I were inhaling the powdery substance.  The crazy-neurotic-mommy in me wondered if the powder is hazardous to my son’s health.  Then I looked at the sippy cup with the chewed straw, and I wondered what unknown chemicals were lurking in the plastic.  All this worry on Earth Day, nonetheless – how’s that for irony.  Then came the revelation.  I should not have to worry about the chemical make-up of garbage bags and plastic cups  - especially before I’ve had a chance to finish my morning coffee.  I should not have to worry if my everyday products contain toxic chemicals that have been linked to infertility, early puberty, low sperm counts, miscarriage and cancer.  My family and I deserve better.  We deserve legislators who protect our health and the health of other families.  We deserve the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010.

Today is Earth Day and what better way to celebrate by writing a letter to the editor urging Congress to pass Safe Chemicals Act of 2010?  Last week, members of Congress introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010, a necessary first step towards protecting our families and our communities from harmful and untested chemicals found in our homes and workplaces.

Here’s a quick summary of the Safe Chemicals Act:

  • Provides EPA with sufficient information to judge a chemical’s safety.
  • Requires manufacturers to develop and submit a minimum data set for each chemical they produce, while also preventing duplicative or unnecessary testing. EPA will have full authority to request additional information needed to determine the safety of a chemical.
  • Prioritizes chemicals based on risk. Calls on the EPA to categorize chemicals based on risk, and focus resources on evaluating those most likely to cause harm.
  • Ensures safety threshold is met for all chemicals on the market and places the burden of proof on chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their chemicals. All uses must be identified and determined safe for the chemical to enter the market or continue to be used.
  • Takes fast action to address highest risk chemicals and requires EPA to take fast action to reduce risk from chemicals that have already been proven dangerous. In addition, the EPA Administrator is given authority to act quickly if any chemical poses an imminent hazard.
  • Creates open access to reliable chemical information and establishes a public database to catalog the information submitted by chemical manufacturers and the EPA’s safety determinations. The EPA will impose requirements to ensure the information collected is reliable.
  • Promotes innovation and development of green chemistry and establishes grant programs and research centers to foster the development of safe chemical alternatives, and brings some new chemicals onto the market using an expedited review process.

So on this Earth Day, let’s ask – no, let’s demand -- that our legislators protect our health and the health of our families by writing a letter to the editor!

Posted by on April 22nd, 2010 No Comments