The Poisonous Substances Management Act (TSCA) requires that the U.S. Environmental Safety Company compile and maintain a present listing of chemical substances manufactured or processed within the U.S. That listing1 at the moment contains about 85,000 chemical compounds.
Amongst them are 10,000 chemical compounds allowed to be added to meals and food-contact supplies within the U.S., both immediately or not directly, but few have been correctly examined for security.
An analysis of almost four,000 components deliberately added to meals revealed 80 p.c lacked sufficient info to find out how a lot might be safely eaten and solely 6.7 p.c had reproductive toxicology knowledge.2 And that is simply meals chemical compounds.
In recent times, researchers and scientists have raised warnings about mounting poisonous exposures, resulting in efforts to rein in the usage of chemical compounds recognized to be hazardous to human well being. Sadly, many firms are nonetheless failing on this regard.
Report Card Reveals Most Poisonous Retailers
Three years in the past, the Safer Chemical compounds, Wholesome Households’ Thoughts the Retailer marketing campaign began publishing a report card on retailer actions to get rid of poisonous chemical compounds. The third annual reportthree,four reveals which retailers have made strides to guard its clients from poisonous chemical compounds within the merchandise they promote, and which of them haven’t. This 12 months, chain eating places have been additionally included for the primary time.
About half of the 40 firms evaluated have made “sluggish however significant progress at bettering the chemical security of the merchandise, meals and packaging they promote,” whereas the opposite half, together with all restaurant chains, haven’t made any discernible efforts to cut back toxicity. In response to the report, revealed November 14, 2018:5
“4 retailers obtained the best grades for his or her work to guard clients from poisonous merchandise and packaging, setting the tempo for the business: Apple (A+), Goal (A), Walmart (A-) and IKEA (A-).
In 2018, Walgreens, Ceremony Support and Amazon have been ranked ‘most improved’ with all three firms asserting sweeping chemical security insurance policies over the previous two months.”
Mike Schade, marketing campaign director for Safer Chemical compounds, Wholesome Households commented on the outcomes:6
“Corporations can stop hurt and shield public well being by taking commonsense steps to part out poisonous chemical compounds in on a regular basis merchandise. Retailers have an vital function to play — they’ve each the ability and the ethical duty to get rid of and safely exchange poisonous chemical compounds to ‘thoughts the shop.’ They need to cease letting chemical companies put public well being in danger.”
Which Retailers Scored Failing Grades in 2018?
In all, 19 of the 40 retailers, grocery and quick meals restaurant chains included within the assessment obtained an “F” in 2018 for “failing to announce insurance policies or publicly report progress to evaluate, scale back or get rid of poisonous chemical compounds within the merchandise or packaging they promote.” As famous by Tracy Gregoire, venture coordinator for Studying Disabilities Affiliation of America’s Wholesome Kids:7
“Studying and developmental disabilities now have an effect on 1 in 6 youngsters. Over 1 / 4 of those disabilities are linked to poisonous chemical exposures. Prenatal and early childhood publicity to dangerous chemical compounds in client merchandise and meals packaging can result in lifelong impacts and continual well being situations.
Main retailers have each the chance and the duty to develop into business leaders by conserving poisonous chemical compounds out of merchandise and packaging to guard youngsters’s minds and our bodies.”
Whereas among the firms that obtained an “F” would appear like “givens,” even firms like Dealer Joe’s and Publix are on this listing.
Corporations that obtained a Failing Grade for 2018eight
Restaurant Manufacturers Worldwide
99 Cents Solely
Govt director of the Environmental Well being Technique Middle, Mike Belliveau, a coauthor of the report, stated:9
“The meals we purchase ought to nourish us, not expose us to poisonous chemical compounds from packaging and processing. Restaurant chains are serving up a recipe for poor well being by failing to slash the usage of poisonous chemical compounds in meals packaging and different meals contact supplies.
Poisonous industrial chemical compounds like phthalates and PFAS do not belong within the meals we eat. Shoppers count on much more management from meals retailers in getting poisonous chemical compounds out of the meals provide chain.”
In response to the report, this 12 months’s evaluation reveals 5 key findings:10
1. Retailers are making an effort to take away sure poisonous chemical compounds from their merchandise — Examples given embrace phthalates, parabens and formaldehyde in magnificence and private care merchandise, and oxybenzone in sunscreens.
Ceremony Support is planning to get rid of two sorts of phthalates from its personal label merchandise by 2020, and can part out 9 others. By the tip of 2022, House Depot will even prohibit two phthalates and 7 different chemical compounds in any family cleansing merchandise they promote.
Ten retailers — Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams, The House Depot, Walmart, True Worth, PPG Paints, AutoZone, Kelly-Moore Paints, Canadian Tire and House — have all vowed to stop promoting paint strippers containing methylene chloride and NMP by the tip of 2018.
In response to the report, “No less than three paint stripper manufacturers have just lately introduced new merchandise coming to market which are freed from methylene chloride and NMP, displaying the ability of outlets to drive the event of safer options.”
2. Retailers are strengthening or adopting new insurance policies to deal with poisonous chemical compounds — Other than Walgreens, Ceremony Support and Amazon — which reported probably the most important enhancements on this regard — Goal, Lowe’s, Costco, Kohl’s and Sephora additionally improved.
three. Retailers are “aligning round a standard listing of chemical compounds of concern” — primarily the sweetness and private care stewardship listing,11 created by the Discussion board for the Future in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium, which is a subset of a bigger listing12 containing a number of thousand chemical compounds with suspected toxicity, developed by authorities companies within the U.S., Europe and different areas.
four. Meals retailers, alternatively, “critically lag behind,” having been sluggish to undertake insurance policies to cut back or get rid of recognized toxins resembling phthalates and PFAS from their packaging and supplies that come into contact with the meals.
5. Regardless of progress, “too many” retailers are nonetheless not addressing the chemical security of their merchandise — “Nearly half the retailers evaluated lacked even probably the most fundamental public chemical compounds coverage,” the report states.
American Academy of Pediatrics Requires Diminished Publicity to Chemical compounds
The truth that all meals retailers obtained a failing rating is disturbing, contemplating their total influence on a person’s day-to-day chemical publicity. As famous by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Environmental Well being and lead creator of the AAP’s coverage assertion on poisonous meals chemical compounds issued earlier this 12 months:13
“There are crucial weaknesses within the present meals components regulatory course of, which does not do sufficient to make sure all chemical compounds added to meals are secure sufficient to be a part of a household’s food regimen. As pediatricians, we’re particularly involved about important gaps in knowledge in regards to the well being results of many of those chemical compounds on infants and youngsters …
Chemical compounds that have an effect on the endocrine system, for instance, can have lasting results on a baby since hormones coordinate complicated capabilities all through the physique. Even small disruptions at key moments throughout growth can have lifelong penalties.”
In July 2018, the AAP, a gaggle of over 65,000 pediatricians within the U.S., issued a coverage assertion urging dad and mom to restrict their youngsters’s publicity to plastic chemical compounds recognized to leach into meals from packaging, in addition to chemical meals components, warning the chemical compounds could harm their youngsters’s well being for years to come back.14 In a coverage assertion, the AAP expressed considerations associated to:15
“[T]he use of colorings, flavorings and chemical compounds intentionally added to meals throughout processing (direct meals components) in addition to substances in meals contact supplies, together with adhesives, guys, coatings, paper, paperboard, plastic and different polymers which can contaminate meals as a part of packaging or manufacturing gear …”
A few of these chemical compounds embrace phthalates, nitrates and bisphenols. Specialists worry these chemical compounds have a spread of unintended effects in people, together with metabolic dysfunction, thyroid and different endocrine disruption, impaired mind growth, rising danger of weight problems and decreased beginning weight.16 Artificial hormones can also disrupt how energy are processed and in the end how they’re transformed, contributing to metabolic dysfunction.
World Well being Group Has Additionally Issued Warnings About Meals and Plastic Chemical compounds
A 2013 joint report by the World Well being Group (WHO) and the United Nations Surroundings Program17 additionally warned that an all-out ban on endocrine disrupting chemical compounds could also be wanted to guard the well being of future generations.
This report is without doubt one of the most complete on endocrine disrupting chemical compounds generally present in plastics and meals components thus far, and highlights all kinds of issues, together with undescended testicles, breast, prostate and thyroid most cancers, nervous glitches and the event of consideration deficit dysfunction and a focus deficit hyperactivity dysfunction in youngsters.18
Poisonous chemical compounds conceal in most merchandise you purchase and use on an on a regular basis foundation. As famous by Thoughts the Retailer, “It is time retailers put the pursuits of our households’ well being above the particular pursuits of chemical companies. Massive retailers can innovate to cut back or get rid of poisonous chemical compounds from the merchandise they carry and safeguard our well being.”
In case you agree, take motion by contacting the CEOs of all 19 retailers with a failing rating. Thoughts the Retailer makes it straightforward by way of their Motion Community web page.
Take Steps to Scale back Your Household’s Chemical Publicity
Contemplating all of the potential sources of poisonous chemical compounds, it is nearly unattainable to keep away from all of them, however that does not imply it’s important to sit silently by whereas companies use your private home, your water, your air, your meals and your physique as a handy chemical dumping floor. Till change happens on a worldwide scale, you’ll be able to considerably restrict your publicity by conserving various key ideas in thoughts.
Eat a food regimen targeted on regionally grown, recent and ideally natural entire meals. Processed and packaged meals are a standard supply of chemical compounds, each within the meals itself and the packaging. Wash recent produce nicely, particularly if it isn’t organically grown.
Fairly than consuming typical or farm-raised fish, which are sometimes closely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, complement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines.
Select licensed natural grass fed meats and dairy to cut back your publicity to hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Keep away from milk and different dairy merchandise containing genetically engineered recombinant bovine progress hormone (rBGH or rBST).
Retailer your meals and drinks in glass, somewhat than plastic, and keep away from utilizing plastic wrap.
Purchase merchandise in glass bottles somewhat than plastic or cans, as chemical compounds can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; bear in mind that even “BPA-free” plastics sometimes leach endocrine-disrupting chemical compounds which are simply as unhealthy.
Use glass child bottles.
Exchange your nonstick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
Search for Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, licensed natural and GMO-free merchandise. This is applicable to every little thing from meals and private care merchandise to constructing supplies, carpeting, paint, child gadgets, furnishings, mattresses and extra.
Filter your faucet water for each ingesting and bathing. In case you can solely afford to do one, filtering your bathing water could also be extra vital, as your pores and skin readily absorbs contaminants. In case your faucet water is fluoridated, remember that not all filter programs will filter out this poisonous additive.
When shopping for new merchandise resembling furnishings, mattresses or carpet padding, take into account shopping for chemical-free varieties containing naturally much less flammable supplies, resembling leather-based, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar, to keep away from publicity to poisonous flame retardants.
Keep away from stain- and water resistant clothes, furnishings and carpets to keep away from PFCs.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to take away contaminated home mud. This is without doubt one of the main routes of publicity to flame-retardant chemical compounds.
Be sure that your child’s toys are BPA-free, resembling pacifiers, teething rings and something your youngster could also be vulnerable to suck or chew on — even books, which are sometimes plasticized. It is advisable to keep away from all plastic, particularly versatile varieties.
Swap to natural toiletries, together with shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Pores and skin Deep database19 might help you discover private care merchandise freed from phthalates and different probably harmful chemical compounds.
Exchange your vinyl bathe curtain with a material one or set up glass doorways.
Use pure cleansing merchandise or make your individual. Keep away from these containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two poisonous glycol ethers that may compromise your fertility and trigger fetal hurt.
Search for fragrance-free merchandise. One synthetic perfume can comprise dozens of doubtless poisonous chemical compounds.20 (When you think about that the business has three,100 inventory chemical components for his or her fragrances, you actually might be uncovered to hundreds of those chemical compounds on daily basis in case you’re round others!) Additionally keep away from material softeners and dryer sheets, which comprise a mishmash of artificial chemical compounds and fragrances.
Exchange female hygiene merchandise (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternate options.