TRY THIS AT HOME
To remain healthy, adopt a healthy skepticism about industry reassurances of product safety. When the statement is made that there is no evidence a chemical causes harm, that doesn’t mean the chemical has been tested. Of the 3,000 high-production chemicals used in the United States, 43 percent have never undergone basic toxicity tests. Only 7 percent have been tested using a standard battery of toxicity tests. Few chemicals have been evaluated for endocrine disruptor effects.
Adopt the precautionary principle. This approach assumes that when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if science has not yet fully established a cause-and-effect relationship. The precautionary principle calls for both a shifting of the burden of proof to industry rather than consumers and the adoption of a better-safe-than-sorry approach to suspected toxic exposures.
Join the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. This diverse network of individuals and organizations works to advance knowledge and effective action to address growing concerns about the links between human health and environmental factors.
Despite information campaigns that warn consumers about chemical risks from household and personal care products, women still fail to make the connection between those products and their personal exposure to harmful chemicals, according to research based on Silent Spring Institute’s Household Exposure Study.
The Silent Spring Institute team examined how women in the Household Exposure Study responded when they learned specific information about chemical contamination in their homes and bodies. After the researchers reviewed the personal chemical exposure data with the women, most of the women expressed surprise at the number of contaminants detected—an average of 20 per home. The women also had difficulty at first relating the chemical results for their homes with their images of environmental pollution.
“Pollution from household and personal care products remains a blind spot for society, “ says Julia Brody, PhD, executive director of Silent Spring Institute. “This study highlights the critical need for more effective communication of the risk from everyday products.”