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Environmental connections to public health >>

Toxic chemicals and you: In search of 'safe'

Monday, November 2, 2009

140,321,493 searches have been requested on EWG's Skin Deep cosmetics safety database since 2004 - and counting.

That's a lot of searches, by a lot of people seeking safer personal care products. Seeking products that don't contain toxic chemicals that are increasingly linked to serious adverse heath effects.

And Skin Deep isn't the only such tool. In September, our friends at The Ecology Center in Michigan released another great search tool, Healthy Stuff, based on tests on 5,000 consumer products. And it's popular, too.

Then there's EWG's recent cell phone radiation database, our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, Z Recommends, The Soft Landing, Safe Mama, and many, many others.

So what gives? Why are so many people seeking safer products? Oh right. It's because they don't know what's safe anymore.

They don't trust their government to protect them because until very recently it has done so very little. And they don't trust industry to be honest with them.

Why not?

Because government is not sufficiently regulating chemicals or product safety and the companies are greenwashing.

As may of us are now saying, parents shouldn't have to be toxicologists to protect their kids' health - one of our most important jobs. Dr. Harvey Karp, a well-known Los Angeles-based pediatrician, said it well at a Los Angeles rally to ban BPA in August:

...your job is to do other really important things like cook dinner, clean the house, raise your children, give them a good education. And while you're sleeping at night, you hope the government is doing its job to regulate the dangers that your family is exposed to.

The good news is we're doing more than hope at EWG. We're having the tough - but critical - conversations, working with Congress, adding important, policy-changing research to the debate, and involving constituents - like you.

And me.

Because I, too, am a parent who would rather be doing the real job of parenting instead of researching kid-safe water bottles and baby bottles and cookware and sleepwear and soap and diaper cream and toothpaste and you get the picture that it's time to stop searching and start demanding change.

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