Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

Why I hope the EWG is wrong

No one makes a habit of displaying the inside of their medicine cabinet. But I’m doing it to make a point.

The other night I took my skeptical husband to watch the filming of what’s being billed as “ ‘Inconvenient Truth’ for environmental health.” The Environmental Working Group’s  President,  Ken Cook, has presented “10 Americans” to countless groups across the country, and it’s even available on the web. But at this filming at DC’s Source Theatre, the EWG captured the reaction of a group of Washingtonians who gathered  to hear that:

  • 82,000 chemicals were declared safe for use in household and personal care products with little or no data to support their safety;
  • the US has the highest cancer rate in the industrialized world;
  • industrial chemicals are showing up in the womb. In other words, embryos are being exposed to chemicals in the mother’s body before birth;
  • chemical exposures in people are increasingly associated with a range of serious diseases and conditions from childhood cancer, to autism, ADHD, learning deficits, infertility, and birth defects.

So why am I showing you my medicine cabinet?  I’m like most Moms – my heart is “deep green,” but my buying patterns are a lighter shade of green.   The items I buy organic and green are those that my family consumes most often, particularly those items that are most often used by my children. But we still buy plenty of conventional  products (although we try to use them sparingly).

When I first learned about the linkages between probable human carcinogens and everyday personal care and household products,  I was shocked. That’s why I reached out to industry representatives to get some reassurances, as you can read here.   And their reaction? While they spend hundreds of thousands to court Mom bloggers at  BlogHer and other conferences and launch fancy viral advertising campaigns, they still haven’t answered these three simple questions I posed here.

  • What is your stance on the Kid Safe Chemical Act?
  • What do you think about the adverse affects of long term exposure to the thousands of chemicals used in personal care products?
  • Is this issue even being discussed at the industry level, through groups like the Personal Products Council?

In fact, as I blogged here, the Industry reps did everything they could to discredit the Moms asking these questions.  So now you know why I hope the EWG is wrong.  Because like so many of you, I still use a lot of these products.

And as for my skeptical husband?  As he put it after watching Ken Cook in action, “DDT used to be called safe too.”

Watch the video yourself and tell me what you think.

If you want to do something now that you’ve seen this video, visit EWG’s Kid-Safe action page.

Lynn Miller’s consulting firm, 4GreenPs, advises companies on green marketing strategies. She founded the Green Moms Carnival blog and also blogs on

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One Response to “Why I hope the EWG is wrong”

  1. Annie Berggren says:

    Thanks Lynn to this post and in this video I see not only Americans should act together but consumers around the globe, someone like me and my family!
    Big parts of those household chemicals are develop, owner or from US. They are all around us.
    I hope Kid Safe Chemical Act could pass as early as possible to reduce harm of our future.
    Annie from Sweden