Apr 29 2013

May 4: Make and Take Event for Safe Cleaning Products

How to Make Your Own Safe & Simple Cleaning Products-  

As a follow-up to a recent program on “Chemicals in Everyday Products,” Piedmont CONNECT will offer a hands-on opportunity to start lowering your family’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in cleaning products. Piedmonters are invited to drop in to the Havens School Science Room on Saturday, May 4, from 3 to 5 p.m., and walk away with 3 – 4 products and recipes to use at home.  A small supply fee will be collected the day of the event to cover the cost of materials.

To sign up and reserve a spot to ensure there are enough supplies, please visit:  https://sites.google.com/site/connectpiedmont/home/clean-products-signup 

At the recent April 24 program, co-sponsored by the Piedmont League of Women Voters and Piedmont CONNECT, Dr. Tracey Woodruff’, Director of the Reproductive Health and the Environment Program at UCSF, described the toxic effects of chemicals found in common household products, particularly the effects on children and reproductive health of women. As part of her research at UCSF, Dr. Woodruff said that 43 toxic chemicals were found in prenatal tests on pregnant women, including pesticides, phthalates, (used in hard plastics and cleaning products) and bisphenol A (BPA), often used in lining of canned goods and in numerous other products.  Many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, birth defects, and other diseases.

Dr. Woodruff was particularly critical of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), used as a flame retardant in furniture, cushions and cars. The highest rates of PBDEs in the world, she said, are found in California because of the state’s strict flame retardant law.  (The state recently has proposed a new standard that would reduce the use of flame retardants and create a science-based approach to fire safety.)

Dr. Woodruff strongly advocates updating the nation’s chemical policy.  Under current federal law, she said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can only conduct chemical safety tests after evidence has found a chemical to be dangerous. As a result, the EPA has been able to test the toxicity of only 200 household chemicals out of 84,000 currently registered in the US, and only 5 dangerous substances have been banned since the federal Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D, New Jersey) has introduced new legislation, the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2013,” that would modernize TSCA and give the EPA the tools it needs to collect health and safety information. The proposed law would ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety and that unsafe uses of chemicals are banned. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has joined Senator Lautenberg to lead the push for reform in the 113th Congress.  The bill has the support of more than one-quarter of the U.S. Senate with 27 additional Senators listed as original co-sponsors.

For more information on the UCSF Reproductive and the Environment Program, visit www.prhe.ucsf.edu/prhe

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