Latest: Household Chemicals and Climate News

Household ChemicalsHousehold Chemicals in Cleaning and Personal Care Products – Think the home cleaning and personal care products are safe? Check out this opening line from an article published over the weekend by The New York Times investigative journalist Ian Urbina:

Many Americans assume that the chemicals in their shampoos, detergents and other consumer products have been thoroughly tested and proved to be safe. This assumption is wrong.

It’s a pretty shocking way to get your attention about an issue that has a pending solution. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2013 was recently introduced by U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ). The Act would improve the safety of chemicals used in consumer products including household cleaners and personal care products like soaps and shampoos; increase public information on chemical safety, protect our most vulnerable populations and disproportionately affected “hot spot” communities, reform EPA’s science practices to ensure the best available science is being used to determine chemical safety, and support innovation in the marketplace and provide incentives for the development of safer chemical alternatives.

Why is it necessary? To hear the people at Safer Chemical-Healthy Families tell it (pdf format):

While the rates of diseases like asthma, diabetes, childhood cancers, infertility, and learning and behavioral disorders keep going up, the federal system that should protect us from health-harming chemicals hasn’t changed in 35 years.

Many of us who, as best we can, feed our families organic food and follow organic gardening practices have been concerned about the chemicals, many of them unidentified, in the products we use on our bodies and around our homes every day. You can always choose products made from natural ingredients and without harmful or dangerous chemicals. But everyone should have the knowledge and ability to protect themselves. This law, as would GMO labeling laws, can go a long way towards helping. A similar bill has been introduced in the House by Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-IL). Stay tuned.

Following Climate Change: Congratulations to Inside Climate News for winning a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for national reporting The upstart, online-only news source won for its series on the 2010 oil spill on Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. Never heard of it (or the spill)? Thank-you, Pulitzer committee.

Actually we’d been visiting the web site for its reporting (and predictions) on the ongoing drought being suffered in parts of the country. Scroll down the link to find maps which make the comparison with the Dust Bowl years. Fascinating. And before you start thinking that Inside  is a propaganda vehicle for global warming activists, check out this article on what is and what isn’t causing the drought. These guys are great at reporting the science (and, yes, the politics). If the scientific proof isn’t there, as the article shows, then they don’t make casual assumptions. But when it is…

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