Phantom Menace

Phantom Menace
Phantom Menace

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Advocate for legislation to reduce exposure to chemicals that have been linked to health problems. Consult 2013 Toxic Chemicals Legislation, an online database of states considering legislation, kept updated by Safer States.

A landmark Silent Spring Institute study found DDT in the dust of 65 percent of the homes tested—even though the pesticide had been banned three decades earlier.

“Many of the chemicals we detected were banned many years ago, suggesting that they do not break down indoors,” said Ruthann Rudel, now director of research at Silent Spring Institute. “The fact that so many chemicals that were banned because of their health risks are still in homes suggests that we need to do more substantial testing before products are put on the market.”

No comprehensive list of endocrine disrupting chemicals exists, and most of the nearly 100,000 chemicals in use have not been tested to determine whether they affect hormone systems.

“Not enough is known about the potential health risks from exposure to these chemicals,” Rudel said. “Part of the problem is that we tend to study chemicals that are regulated—and we regulate chemicals that are studied. So we end up looking at only a fraction of the chemicals we should be examining.”