From before we are born until the time we die, every one of us is repeatedly and regularly exposed to toxic chemicals that can seriously harm our health. Chemicals in our homes, schools and workplaces, found in such seemingly benign places as personal care products, cleaning products, toys, pet products, furniture, clothing, food, and water, have been linked to asthma, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive damage, and a host of other diseases and disorders.
Current environment and health policies are outdated and do not protect us. The result is that toxic substances end up in our bodies without our knowledge or consent. We have seen that ignoring early warning signs can result in serious illness. Our individual rights and our quality of life are threatened by harmful pollution and products.
In Massachusetts, Clean Water Action is a founding member of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (AHT), a coalition of citizens, scientists, health professionals, workers, and educators seeking preventive action on toxic hazards. Our goal is to correct fundamental flaws in government policies that allow harm to our health and environment.
Clean Water Action and campaign partners are working on multiple fronts to create laws and policies that prevent harm to society’s health from toxic chemicals.
We have many new opportunities in the 2015-2016 legislative session in Massachusetts to make real progress towards protecting the health of communities from toxic chemicals. Clean Water Action has endorsed 7 bills, all of which would advance the public health of the Commonwealth by disclosing important chemical information to the public in consumer products and dry cleaning solvents, prompting manufacturers to substitute harmful chemicals with safer alternatives, and prohibiting the use of toxic chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA); a known endocrine disruptor, in consumer products. Read More.
Federal Legislative Efforts
Clean Water Action is also working to achieve real progress for public health on the federal level. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the only law our nation has governing toxic chemical production and use. It has not been updated since 1976 and since, hundreds of new chemicals have entered the market and our homes without being tested for safety. That is why we have partnered with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to ensure TSCA is reformed in a way that will give EPA the tools necessary to ensure the safety of chemicals and significantly strengthen health protections for American families. Click here for the latest status and information on TSCA reform efforts.
Corporate Policy ReformClean Water Action has partnered with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families on the Mind the Store Campaign, to urge the nation’s top ten retailers to get toxic chemicals out of their stores. Read more.
Public health advocates in Massachusetts, including advocates from Clean Water Action, are working to see toxic flame retardants phased out. Read more.
Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA)
Clean Water Action works with AHT partners to support the effective implementation of the TURA program, which supports industries in Massachusetts that use large quantities of “high hazard” chemicals in their processes to reduce their use and release of those toxic chemicals.
Mind the Store
The Mind-the-Store Campaign has realized significant victories towards its goal of pressing the nation’s largest 10 retailers to phase out toxic chemicals. Some of the nation’s largest retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walgreens, Target and Walmart, have all made announcements to eliminate toxic chemicals from their stores. However, the details of these new plans and policies are often undisclosed to the public. Suppliers have also been known to find substitutes that may be somewhat safer than the targeted chemical of concern, but which display other hazardous health effects.
In 2014, the TURA program, under pressure from Clean Water Action and allies, moved closer to its full potential for preventing pollution from industrial use of toxic chemicals and protecting the health of Massachusetts residents and workers. Since a 2006 revision, the TURA law has allowed up to 10 chemicals per year to be designated as Higher Hazard Substances, which results in a greater number of companies being brought into the TURA program to reduce their toxic chemical use and release. In previous years only one or two chemicals per year had been designated as Higher Hazard Substances (HHS) for a total of 7. In 2014, five chemicals received this designation, leading to a 71% increase! The additional five designated substances are:
· hydrogen fluoride and cyanide compounds, both of which are acutely toxic and linked to long-term chronic health conditions;
· 1-Bromopropane, which is linked to neurological illnesses, cancer and reproductive disorders;
· Dimethylformamide, which is linked to severe liver damage; and
· Methylene Chloride, which has been linked to increases in liver and lung cancer.
Clean Water Action is strongest when we partner with others! We’ve joined forces with a wide array of groups in state and national coalitions (listed below) to protect our health from toxic chemicals.