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6 posts from May 2011


The Toxie Diaries: Halogenated Flame Retardants

HFR_320x480"Super Hot Mess"

That's the category we're nominated for at The Toxies! Love, love, love it! Will you be at the screening in Minneapolis?

Hey all! It's Deca-BDE -- that is, Minnesota Priority Chemical Deca-BDE -- here to give you an update on what all us Holgenated Flame Retardants have been up to. (The beautiful lady pictured here will rep us at the national awards!!)

Finally the whole family is being recognized for our important work, like affecting how childrens' brains develop, decreasing IQs and contributing to poor motor development.

And then there's that whole "linked to cancer" series we've been working on for quite some time.

What can I say, we have staying power. Once we're introduced on the scene, it takes a looooong time to for us to get out of people's bodies, like a song you can't get out of your head. "HBCD! It's easy as PBDE! As simple as TDCP, TCEP, TBBPA, Baby you and me girl!"

See what I mean?

Oh, it's gonna be great to have the whole gang together again for The Toxies. I'm curious to hear what roles Chlorinated Tris has nabbed since he was phased out of children's pajamas in the 70s. (Probable carcinogen.) I hear he's moved on to other nursery products, like car seats and nursing pillows.

It turns out we have more roles than some folks originally thought! A new study found us in 80% of baby products tested! What can we say, we're popular with the young crowd.

Anyway, before I take off, you should check out this video starring yours truly and my sis HBCD. It's gonna be on fire ALL OVER the interwebs!


The Toxie Diaries: BPA

Bisphenol-A_320x480Hey everyone! Have you heard the big news? Soooo excited. I've been nominated and will be  appearing at The Toxies this year! Soooo pumped. Y'all should come to the awards on June 16 to see me in all my plasticky glory. RSVP here.

So what if it's for the "Least Sexy Performance" award? I know I'm hot. No one wants to give me love right now, since I'm all "toxic." 

I wasn't too sure if I'd get recognized this year, what with the increasing number of states banning me in baby products, but it turns out I'm in soooo many other things. Like, did you know I'm in aluminum cans? I line the insides of canned vegetables, fruits and soups. Yup, you'll be getting a dose of homestyle BPA with those green beans.

I was also glad people scoffed at Maine Governor Paul LePage's statement on me. Can you believe what he said? "[T]he worst case is some women may have little beards.” Beards. Really? How can he not know about the nasty health effects I'm linked to? How about those links to breast and prostate cancer? Or diabetes? Heart disease? Miscarriage? Do your research, people! It's all over the news. He's just trying to steal my thunder! Soooo annoying. 

They call me an "Endocrine Disrupter," which totally sounds like some kind of awesome monster truck or something. Soooo awesome.

OMG you guys, The Toxies are gonna be off the hoooooook!! Hope you all can make it. I'm gonna be all, "BPA is money! Seriously, I'm all over paper currency!" Oh that's hilarious, I'm gonna write that down.

Well, I should head out. I have a full day of causing hormone disruption, and contributing to reproductive disorders and breast cancer. Oh, before I go, I made this video after I found out about my nomination. Check it out!!

Yeah, I'm totally going to win, and I deserve it! See you at the Toxies on June 16!


Toxic Flame Retardants are Hidden and Harmful

By Karen Einisman, Women's Cancer Action

IStock_000005757801MediumParenting. It’s the hardest job I have ever had. From the minute my children were born, I took on the  responsibility of keeping them safe. While I was still pregnant, I painstakingly researched the perfect stroller, the safest car seat, the best high chair. The list went on and on. But, it wasn’t until I started paying attention to the chemical problem in this country that I realized that all of my preparation didn’t truly help me protect my children from serious harm.

Take the new study released today, for example, that found 80 percent of all baby products tested contained chemical flame retardants that are considered toxic…80 percent! The study, published in the peer-reviewed Environmental Science & Technology Journal, analyzed 101 children’s products for flame retardants. A wide range of products—from nursing pillows to high chairs and everything in between—were sent in from around the country and tested.

Almost one-third of the tested products contained TDCPP or chlorinated Tris, a possible human carcinogen that was removed from children’s pajamas over health concerns when I was a kid.  Chlorinated Tris has been linked to cancer of the liver, kidney, brain and testis.  And, that’s just one of the chemical flame retardant mentioned in this study. The list of flame retardants found in these popular baby products is an alphabet soup of acronyms that no parent should have to memorize.

According to Arlene Blum, PhD, co-author of this study, flame retardants migrate out of the products and into our homes and our bodies, affecting IQ levels, disrupting hormones and impairing development. In fact, experts say that these chemicals are linked to some of today’s biggest health problems.

That’s why I have been avoiding flame retardants in pajamas (yes, they substituted chlorinated tris for another toxic flame retardant) ever since my pediatrician warned me about them—an easy task since they are labeled. Most products are not.

Until I started paying attention to the issue of toxic chemical reform, I had no idea the extent to which these chemicals were present in the very things I used to keep my kids safe! It’s horrifying to think that my children’s bedrooms and playrooms were and are filled with toxic substances that can seriously harm them. The unfortunate news that this study brings is a blatant reminder of why we need toxic chemical reform in this country. Hopefully, by the time my kids have kids, they won’t have to have a degree in chemistry to go shopping.

What are the concerns about toxic flame retardants?

A new study* found that 80% of baby products tested contained toxic flame retardants. Products tested included nursing pillows, car seats, sleeping wedges, portable crib mattresses, baby carriers, strollers and changing table pads. Toxic flame retardants were prevalent in products that contained polyurethane foam. The chemicals can leak from the foam and get into dust, which gets on to hands and food, exposing children through ingestion and inhalation. Flame retardants found in foam baby products include neurotoxin penta-BDE (already banned in MN and 11 other states) and chlorinated tris, which was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970’s because it was a suspected carcinogen.

Tips to Reduce Exposure**

  1. Keep dust levels down by wet mopping and vacuuming with a HEPA filter.
  2. Wash your hands and your children’s hands often.
  3. Purchase new and used baby products and furniture filled with cotton, polyester or wool, rather than polyurethane foam.
  4. Avoid products containing polyurethane foam and have a TB117 label (California fire retardant standard), which are likely to contain chemical flame retardants.
  5. Write or call the manufacturer to inquire whether the product contains flame retardants.
  6. Find out more and take action at and
  7. Safe brands include:

•    BabyLuxe organic pads and mattresses
•    BabyBjorn baby carriers
•    OrbitBaby strollers and car seats
•    Boppy nursing pillows

*Stapleton HM, Klosterhaus S, Keller A, Ferguson PL et al. Identification of flame retardants in polyurethane foam collected from baby products. Environmental Science and Technology, online May 18, 2011.

**Adapted from “Flame Retardants in Baby Products: What You Can Do”, Green Science Policy Institute,


The Toxie Diaries: Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde-web1 Hey Formalde-fans!! Been awhile since I’ve written, so I decided to update all my followers on what I’m up to.

So, where have I been? Well, if you keep up with the news you’d know I’ve been pretty much everywhere. (Remember when I showed up in those FEMA trailers for the Hurricane Katrina victims, causing respiratory complaints among inhabitants? Oops!!) Even though the EPA tells people I’m known to cause cancer, they can’t do anything about it! I’m still pretty much all around, partying, you know, havin’ a good time. Don’t tell my publicist :).

Anyway, went to the nail salon the other day. I feel like I’m there all the time! Remember when people only knew me as that reeking chemical in high school science class? I’ve come such a long way since then: carpeting, particleboard, personal care products – I’m even showing up in cribs and changing tables, leaching out into the air to be breathed in by little babies. I’m so well known, I can’t wait to show up at my high school reunion and surprise everyone with my overwhelming success and stench! I smell!

Is there a more versatile toxic chemical than me? I’ve made so many lists, it’s hard to keep track.

Oh, news item! I was just put on the Minnesota Priority Chemicals List! “Priority Chemical” – not bad, huh? I guess it has something to do with how I’m a toxic chemical or whatever. Not sure if I get a certificate or trophy or anything for it, but it’s cool to be recognized. And I just want to thank all my victims and the shameless drive for profit over health that’s gotten me to where I am!

And BTW: I’m in the running for a Toxie Award this year—yes! So well deserved! Check out this sweet video of me talking about why the Toxie is mine. You can attend the Toxies and see me in all my glory.

Well, I should run–I’m having lunch with a few friends. (I’ll surprise them in their new clothes.) I hope it goes better than last time. They were all coughing and wheezing the whole time. Okay, I get it, I worsen asthma symptoms, and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Ya don’t have to make such a big deal about it.

See you, well, pretty much all over the place! Byeeeee!!! <3 <3 <3


This blog was authored by Jacob Taintor

The Toxies by Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Creative Commons LicenseShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at


Loud and Clear: "Message in a Bottle" Report Finds State Laws Get BPA out of Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

By Katie Rojas-Jahn, Healthy Legacy Coalition Coordinator

ToddlerWithBottle250 Are you a parent? How many times have you thought about your child today? Worried about her or him? Today we’ve got some good news! In several states, parents have one less thing to worry about when trying to keep their families safe and healthy.

Today, a new market survey, Message in a Bottle: A Market Survey on Bisphenol A (BPA) in Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups (PDF), announces that state legislation has been a key driver in phasing out the use of BPA in these products. Thanks to the actions of key states, parents in those states with BPA bans can be pretty sure that baby bottles, sippy cups and breast-milk storage products on the market are free of bisphenol A (always look for a BPA-free label, though). Unfortunately, states without BPA laws, like Oregon, still have BPA-containing children’s products lurking on some store shelves.

The market survey checked the inventory of baby bottles and sippy cups in 89 stores from 35 communities in five different states. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago, and New York all have laws on the books that ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. The survey findings confirm that in these locations, nearly all bottles and sippy cups are BPA-free and labeled as such. However, in Oregon where legislation to ban BPA is still pending, parents need to be alert for BPA containing products still on store shelves. Based on our samples, parents should be particularly alert on shelves of dollar stores, value stores and drug stores.

Both state and federal action are needed to ensure that parents in every state, no matter where they live or where they shop, need not worry about BPA in baby products such as bottles and sippy cups. While the U.S. lags behind the European Union, China and Canada in federal action to restrict BPA, states are still moving to phase out BPA in baby products and food can linings. Beyond baby products, families should have information that makes it easy to make BPA-free purchasing choices when it comes to canned food and other consumer products.

We also need to fix the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the broken and out of date law that is failing to protect public health from exposure to toxic chemicals. Current legislation introduced by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg seeks to fix many of the problems with TSCA through the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. In Minnesota, Senators Franken and Klobuchar are both co-sponsors of the bill. Take a moment to thank them for their support.


Toxic Chemicals Reporting Bill Introduced in MN

Capitol By Dan Endreson, Healthy Legacy Lobbyist

Would you eat a plate of food without knowing what it is? Would you take medicine without someone telling you it was tested for safety?  If your answer is no, then why would you buy a product for your child unless you knew it did not contain a toxic chemical? Last week, state legislation was introduced to ensure manufacturers reveal this information.

In 2009, Minnesota passed the Toxic Free Kids Act which instructed the Department of Health and the Pollution Control Agency to create a list of the toxic chemicals known to be found in children’s products. This was a great first step. However, the problem for consumers is that no one knows for certain what products contain these chemicals.

This newest piece of legislation, authored by Representative Kate Knuth and Senator Linda Higgins, would require manufacturers to disclose the presence of a listed toxic chemical in their products to the agencies by January 1, 2012. If chemicals are added to the priority list in the future, manufacturers will have 180 days to report the presence of this chemical to the agencies. This legislation has broad support. Co-authors on the bill include Democrats and Republicans from urban, suburban and rural areas in Minnesota.

Allowing agencies and consumers to have this important piece of information is crucial step for parents to know the products they buy are safe for their children.

Healthy Legacy