Back-to-School 2011: Fall Health News from CEH

CEH Packs a Big Superhero Punch for Safe Chemicals!

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Many moms and parents across the country have been the champions for environmental health, at the forefront of legislative action and advocacy. On August 10th, the mom signal went up again as a squadron of moms and kids suited up in capes and masks gathered in cities across the country in in support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, would strengthen and update EPA’s authority to regulate toxic chemicals. Right now, EPA is hamstrung by outdated chemical policies that have not been updated in more than 30 years. So while industry has been busy developing new toxic technologies (like nanotech, GMOs and new chemical hazards), government regulators have had few or no options when it comes to protecting public health from risky new products.

CEH’s East Coast office, as well as Mary Brune from the Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS) project were out in full force in the New York City stroller bridage that marched to New York Senator Gillibrand’s office to thank her for co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act.

Back on the West Coast, the CEH CHANGE program held a meeting with Senator Feinstein’s office staff, urging Feinstein to keep up her strong past environmental record by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Feinstein’s staff was engaged and understood the issue, asking us to keep them updated on the progress of the bill.

For more information on the successes of National Action Day, check out the articles below:

Thanks to all our supporters who participated across the country! It was a thriving action day, with great events in Washington, New York, Kentucky, Oregon, and more!

Free Lead Screening for Artificial Turf

A lawsuit brought by the California Attorney General (with help from CEH) against several producers of artificial turf (sometimes called indoor/outdoor grass carpet) resulted in the turf makers eliminating lead in their new products.

But some older turf may still contain lead. If your children play on older turf fields or lawns, they may be exposed to lead.

CEH is offering free turf screening. Sending a sample of turf is easy: put a few blades (about 6 blades is sufficient) from the turf field or lawn in an envelope and mail to CEH at the address below. Along with the turf sample, please include a note with as much of the following information as you have:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Location of the field or lawn (address, city, state)
  • Name of the turf installer and/or turf producer date (month/year) the turf was installed

Send your sample to:

Center for Environmental Health
Turf Testing Project
2201 Broadway, Suite 302
Oakland CA 94612

We will provide screening results within one week of receiving your sample, or contact you if we recommend using a different procedure called transfer testing.

Please forward this email to lists of parents, schools, and/or daycares in your area.

If you have any questions about turf testing, contact Matt Nevins at CEH, matt@ceh.org.

Your Back to School Guide for Greener Electronics

Back-To-School_ElectronicsGuide135x130Keeping up with the ever increasing number of products and companies making “green” claims can be a daunting task; the reality is that there are no truly green electronic products on the market today. The “greenest” choice you can make is to extend the life of your current product (if it is still working or can be upgraded) or to buy a refurbished computer. But if you have decided you have to buy a new product, the CEH Shopping Guide can help provide needed information to help you cut through the confusion to identify “greener” products.

The Shopping Guide summarizes the Electronics TakeBack Coalition’s and Greenpeace’s latest rankings of electronics companies on their takeback and recycling programs, and on their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change, respectively. While these ratings do not capture the companies’ full sustainability efforts, it gives you a place to start when choosing between companies and their products. The Shopping Guide also includes a listing of products that do not contain PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants, two highly problematic materials used in electronics. Both PVC and Brominated Flame Retardants have toxic lifecycles (from production through disposal ) so we support this transition away from these materials of concern.

Check it out: The CEH Shopping Guide to Greener Electronics.

Back to School Health: No More Toxic Triclosan, Bath & Body Works!

BBW_Alert_145paddingAs your children gear up to go back to school, protect them from harmful germs without using the toxic chemical triclosan, which can be found in many of the antibacterial soaps that abound in school bathrooms and classrooms.

As you may already know, triclosan is linked to hormone disruption and–after it’s washed down the drain–can transform into dioxins, a class of chemicals some consider the most toxic known to science.

A recent New York Times article raised concerns about the chemical, which is used in many antibacterial soaps at stores popular with pre-teens and teenagers.

One popular teen store in particular uses triclosan in their handsoaps–Bath & Body Works. That’s why we’re leading a campaign get triclosan out of Bath & Body Works products.

Help CEH protect consumers and put an end to the use of triclosan in our personal care products.

If you haven’t already, Tell Bath and Body Works CEO: Stop using a toxic chemical in your products!

You’re Invited: CEH’s Very Special 15th Anniversary

CEH15yrs145Monday, October 24th, 2011 6 pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street San Francisco, CA

CEH will be celebrating 15 years of success in our fight against polluters in October at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Be prepared to test your toxics knowledge, mingle with fellow CEH supporters and leaders in the field of environmental health and hear about the latest in sustainability and the newest directions in greening the market place with two outstanding speakers from business and government. We’re starting at 6 pm with our reception featuring Lagunitas beer and Numi Tea. CEH supporters from New York, Chicago & Hollywood will be coming for this very exciting evening celebrating CEH’s 15 years of success.

What about you? Buy your tickets now to reserve your spot!

This event is made possible by the generous support of Lexington Law group, Kimo Campbell/Pohaku Fund, Kaiser Permanente and other allies with a fun portion of the evening provided by Jellyvision, Inc.

Connect: Join the MOMS Squad!

CEH15yrs145x145_paddingThe MOMS Project is excited to announce the beta release of its new website at www.safemilk.org. The Learn section of the site features tools, books, factsheets, and reports about environmental health issues. The site also offers a discussion forum and groups function for connecting moms to others in their community who want to take action. Become a registered user of the MOMS site and you could win a new Flip Ultra HD Video camera!

Thank You to our Foundation Funders!

The East Bay Community Foundation has awarded us with a generous grant for our work with the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports.

The San Francisco Foundation has awarded us with a generous grant to continue our work to remove toxic chemicals from food, air, water and consumer products, especially those impacting low income communities of color and collaborating in those communities to educate and build support for environmental justice.