Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland

PROTECTING MARYLANDERS FROM TOXICS—Maryland PIRG Foundation is working alongside concerned citizens, our members, and our powerful coalition to speak out against dangerous toxic chemicals.

WE'RE EXPOSED TO HARMFUL CHEMICALS EVERY DAY

Marylanders should be able to trust that the products we buy we buy are safe — especially ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies.

We've looked into it, however, and discovered that when we shampoo our hair or wash our hands, we're likely dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, even cause cancer.

But because of a weak federal cosmetics law, the chemicals in our personal care products don't have to be tested for safety before they reach store shelves, leaving it up to manufacturers to make sure their products are safe.

This means we’re being exposed to a cocktail of chemicals that have not been proven safe — and this exposure adds up over time. The average person in the U.S. comes in contact with more than 100 different chemicals from personal care products before they even leave the house.

And with these chemicals come an increase in chronic illnesses over the past 30 years, and there is a growing consensus amongst the environmental health community that this is due in part to toxic chemical exposure. In 2010, approximately 16.4 percent of Maryland children had a history of asthma compared to a national average of 13.6 percent. And in Baltimore City, the number is even higher. Meanwhile, leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers have increased by more than 20 percent since 1975, asthma rates have doubled since 1980, and autism diagnoses have increased tenfold in the last 15 years. 

COMMONSENSE STEPS TO A TOXIC-FREE MARYLAND

Our campaign pushes for concrete steps that will help make it easier for Marylanders to protect themselves from toxic chemicals. The Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland platform calls for commonsense steps to protect Marylanders from toxic chemical exposure:

  • Get the worst toxic chemicals off store shelves, phasing out chemicals we know are dangerous, and replacing them with the safest alternatives available.
  • Have large companies adopt policies to phase out toxic chemicals from their supply chains. We can accomplish this by getting manufacturers to use chemical policies that identify and eliminate chemicals linked to adverse health effects and replace them with safer alternatives.
  • Tell manufacturers they should disclose all ingredients, online and/or on product packaging. For example, manufacturers don’t have to tell consumers what is in “fragrance,” and it’s typically claimed as a trade secret and can be toxic. Disclosing ingredients would mean consumers can demand products without those ingredients, and thus move the market.

Issue updates

News Release | Public Health

Statement on SC Johnson’s skin allergen disclosure announcement

“SC Johnson, the manufacturer behind popular brands like Glade, Pledge, Windex, and more has announced today that it will disclose the presence of 368 fragrance and non-fragrance potential skin allergens that may occur in its products. This is a great move for chemical transparency in consumer products."

> Keep Reading
News Release | Public Health, Antibiotics

Statement on McDonald's shareholder resolution to eliminate the routine use of medically important antibiotics from the company’s meat supply chain

At McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting today shareholders voted on a proposal to eliminate the routine use of medically important antibiotics from the company’s entire meat supply chain. Of those that voted, nearly 30% were in favor of the resolution.

> Keep Reading
Report | Center for Environmental Health and Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Food

Kicking the Can?

Bisphenol A, often called BPA, is one of the most widely used and thoroughly studied toxic chemicals. Despite hundreds of scientific studies showing that exposure to BPA is linked to significant health concerns - diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer - it is still used in food cans that millions of Americans buy every day. 

> Keep Reading

L'Oréal: Pledge to Be Toxic-Free

Today, Maryland PIRG Foundation, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP)), and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families delivered more than 150,000 petition signatures calling on the multinational cosmetic giant L’Oréal USA to eliminate cancer causing chemicals and to disclose its secret “fragrance” chemicals. 

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News Release | Public Health

Statement on SC Johnson’s skin allergen disclosure announcement

“SC Johnson, the manufacturer behind popular brands like Glade, Pledge, Windex, and more has announced today that it will disclose the presence of 368 fragrance and non-fragrance potential skin allergens that may occur in its products. This is a great move for chemical transparency in consumer products."

> Keep Reading
News Release | Public Health, Antibiotics

Statement on McDonald's shareholder resolution to eliminate the routine use of medically important antibiotics from the company’s meat supply chain

At McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting today shareholders voted on a proposal to eliminate the routine use of medically important antibiotics from the company’s entire meat supply chain. Of those that voted, nearly 30% were in favor of the resolution.

> Keep Reading

L'Oréal: Pledge to Be Toxic-Free

Today, Maryland PIRG Foundation, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP)), and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families delivered more than 150,000 petition signatures calling on the multinational cosmetic giant L’Oréal USA to eliminate cancer causing chemicals and to disclose its secret “fragrance” chemicals. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Public Health

Groups File Amicus in Support of Montgomery County, Md., Pesticide Restrictions

Nine organizations filed an Amicus brief this week in support of a 2015 landmark Montgomery County, Maryland ordinance that restricts the use of toxic pesticides on public and private land within its jurisdiction. The law, intended to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of lawn and landscape pesticide use, is facing a legal challenge filed in November last year by the pesticide industry group Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE).

> Keep Reading

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Result | Public Health

Victory: Macy's commits to phase out toxic flame retardents

We did it: Macy's announced it will stop selling furniture that contains toxic flame retardants.

> Keep Reading
Result | Public Health

Victory: Subway Announces Plan to Go Antibiotic Free

We're ecstatic that Subway will be living up to the healthy image they've created. They have more restaurants in the U.S. than any other chain, and their announcement will put major market pressure on the meat producers to stop overusing antibiotics.

> Keep Reading
Report | Center for Environmental Health and Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Food

Kicking the Can?

Bisphenol A, often called BPA, is one of the most widely used and thoroughly studied toxic chemicals. Despite hundreds of scientific studies showing that exposure to BPA is linked to significant health concerns - diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer - it is still used in food cans that millions of Americans buy every day. 

> Keep Reading
Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

Lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country.  As our report shows, states are so far failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.

> Keep Reading
Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Trouble In Toyland 2016

For more than 30 years, the Maryland PIRG Foundtation has conducted an annual survey of toy safety. These reports have led to more than 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years, and have helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and wellbeing of children

> Keep Reading
Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Getting Personal With Chemicals

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially the ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. However, we looked into common ingredients in popular personal care products, and found that when we use these products, like shampoo, baby wipes, deodorant, shaving gel, or perfume, we are often dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, cause cancer, and more.  Check out our consumer product guide here!

> Keep Reading
Report | Breast Cancer Fund; Campaign for Healthier Solutions; Clean Production Action; Ecology Center; and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families' Mind the Store Campaign (with support from Maryland PIRG and others) | Public Health

Buyer Beware

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemical that negatively impacts our hormonal systems, contributing to a host of harmful health effects. Hundreds of scientific studies have linked extremely small amounts of BPA, measured in parts per billion and even parts per trillion, to an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, infertility, type-2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, and behavioral changes including attention deficit disorder. It is likely that people are exposed to BPA from canned foods at levels that are compromising our health.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Calling for Big Action on Antibiotics in the Big Apple | Steve Blackledge

Last week, we were in New York City, where the United Nations General Assembly spent an entire day discussing antibiotic resistance, “the biggest threat to modern medicine.” Experts estimate that more than 700,000 people worldwide die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, including 23,000 in the United States—a number that could grow to 10 million globally by 2050.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Free Webinar: Engaging Maryland Businesses in Chemical Policy Reform | Juliana Bilowich

Maryland PIRG is teaming up with the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council to present a free webinar! Maryland businesses will learn about chemical regulations that affect business; discuss chemicals and products that affect the health of employees and customers; and learn how to engage in the policy reform process!

Join us on Wednesday, June 29th, from 2-3pm to help make your business voice heard!

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Apply to be a Public Health Intern this summer or fall! | Juliana Bilowich

Want to work alongside lead Maryland PIRG staff?

 

Want to gain valuable work experience?

 

Want to work on important public health issues affecting our daily lives?

 

Apply now for an unpaid internship this summer or fall!

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Blog Post | Public Health

5 tips for avoiding dangerous chemicals while cleaning your home or business | Juliana Bilowich

Did you know that most chemical substances have not been cleared for safety? Of the 80,000 chemicals on the market today, only 2% have been screened by the EPA. Substances like formaldehyde, phthalates, triclosan, and bisphenols have been linked to growing health concerns like cancers, learning disorders, and asthma. Shockingly, many of these chemicals are in products we use every day to clean our homes and businesses. The good news is that half of the stores surveyed in Baltimore sell a certified non-toxic cleaning product.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Manufacturers report toxics in wide range of household products | Juliana Bilowich

A national report issued this week titled What Stinks? Toxic Phthalates in Your Home reveals that a group of toxic chemicals are used in a broader range of household products than previously known, including products by Hallmark Cards, The Gap, True Value, and more.

> Keep Reading

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