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.
Baltimore: From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually. In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce. Maryland PIRG Foundation’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, released today, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.
While our food safety system has improved significantly over the last 100 years, when toxics, fake foodstuffs and bacteria regularly infiltrated the supply, it is clear there is more work to do. A modern society relies on ensuring that the daily act of eating does not undermine the health of the population.
Today, Maryland PIRG Foundation released a new report from the Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff program: Hidden Hazards: Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats.
The Ecology Center's has released test results and product ratings in their 2018 report, Hidden Hazards: Flame Retardants & PFAS in Children's Car Seats.
For over 30 years, Maryland PIRG Foundation has conducted an annual survey of toys to look for safety problems. This research has led to more than 150 toy recalls and other regulatory actions over the years. Our work has also helped educate the public and policymakers on the need for continued action to protect the health and well-being of children.
Tools & Resources
Maryland PIRG Foundation
Phase out meats produced with routine use of antibiotics.
Maryland Public Interest Research Group
COMAR 26.11.32 - Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Consumer ProductsMaryland Public Interest Research Group
New data reveals widespread use of hormone-disrupting chemicals in cleaners, disinfectants, deodorizers, clothing, shoes, paints, and personal care products.A report from the Environmental Health Strategy Center & from Prevent Harm
Half of Baltimore stores carry certified non-toxic products. Find out where!Maryland PIRG Foundation
Restaurants that serve meat without the routine use of human antibioticsMaryland PIRG Foundation
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