There’s a new game in the battle over chemicals in consumer products and it appears to set titan against titan, by enlisting Big Box stores in the effort to get toxic chemicals out of cosmetics, furniture and household goods. The opposing titan is, of course, the chemical industry, which has fought strong government oversight for decades. Here’s how the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition hopes to win.
In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil-and-gas drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying. While scientists have yet to isolate cause and effect, many suspect chemicals used in drilling and hydrofracking (or “fracking”) operations are poisoning animals through the air, water, or soil.
Johnson & Johnson will remove all toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals from virtually all of its baby and adult body products by 2015, according to the company. The first chemicals to be phased out will include 1,4 dioxane and the formaldehyde-releasing preservative, quaternium-15, found in some baby products, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which led a coalition of health and environmental groups in pushing Johnson & Johnson to use safer formulations for all its goods.
After an outbreak of bad publicity earlier this year over bisphenol-A (BPA), the plastic additive which dozens of studies identify as a potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptor, the U.S. government promised to take another look. Its conclusion: BPA is safe.
The Federal Drug Administration had previously cleared BPA for use in an array of consumer products, such as clear plastic baby bottles, the resin lining in food cans and many other items. It promised a new review of the science after Canada proposed a ban of BPA in baby bottles and manufacturers of polycarbonate water bottles began voluntarily giving up BPA. All cited concerns over the plastics’ tendency to leach when when warmed and possible harmful effects on humans, particularly children.