Monday, October 26, 2009
Toxins Be Gone!
Too bad it's not that simple. One website, HealthyStuff.org has tested thousands of children's products and other household items to find out what you are really buying.
They test for all sorts of toxic nastiness:
While there are a number of chemicals of concern that have been found in common consumer products, HealthyStuff.org focused on a subset of chemicals that could be detected by the XRF technology: lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, bromine and mercury. HealthyStuff.org also contains information on consumer products that contain chromium, tin, and antimony. Each of these chemicals also represents potential exposure to workers or communities during the manufacture of products containing them, and potentially to communities where the products are disposed.
HealthyStuff.org selected these elements and related or associated chemical compounds because they have been identified by many regulatory agencies as problematic chemicals or they are associated with problematic compounds and/or because of their toxicity or suspected toxicity, persistence, and/or their tendency to build up in people and the environment. These chemicals have also been linked in animal and, less often, in human studies to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. They were also chosen because these chemicals, or their elemental building blocks, have been subject to either regulatory restrictions or voluntary limits set by industry associations or third party environmental certification organizations.
While I don't have the time to search for each and every item I own on the website, it's reasurring that someone out there is checking up on products that children and babies will be handling (and chewing on), especially since, as we've seen, it's not necessarily cheapo dollar store items that are contaminated.
The CPSC, which is charged with protecting the public "against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products" has had its fair share of controversy in recent years, but I beleive it's one of our better functioning government agencies, despite the criticism. Not that it is necessarily inept or corrupt, but simply overworked and far too small and underfunded for the job at hand. I hope that more attention will be paid to its importance in the future.
Until then sites like HealthyStuff.org exist to help fill in the cracks of missing information and help push consumers to demand safer prodeucts for their families.