Original article written by David Halperin for the Huffington Post. Find the original version here.
Late last week, hundreds of organizations and people sent a letter to President Obamawarning that his administration is running of time to act on an issue long-identified by the president as essential to our national security and public safety: protecting our people from the dangers of accidents or deliberate attacks at U.S. chemical plants.
Article by the Public News Service, find the original story here.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - It's supposed to be a safe place to learn, but a new report finds that two out of every five Kentucky children attend schools inside what chemical companies call a "vulnerability zone."
Sean Moulton, director of Open Government Policy program with the Center for Effective Government, says the level of risk associated with a particular chemical facility has to do with the quantity of chemicals being handled, how dangerous they are, and the proximity of the facility to population centers.
"They estimate how far a major accident could reach outside of their facility," says Moulton. "Then, that becomes the radius of a circular zone around the facility, and everyone inside that zone is potentially at risk."
Story by Greg Stotelmeyer for the Public News Service-KY. Find the original story here.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - West Virginia has been at the epicenter of concerns recently over coal-washing that may be leaching large amounts of MCHM and similar chemicals into the state's water. MCHM - 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol - is a foaming agent used to separate and float particles of coal away from rock and clay at prep plants. Much of it and other chemicals end up in the slurry that is piped into huge waste impoundments. West Virginia legislator Mike Manypenny, who co-chairs that state's Joint Oversight Commission on Water Resources, said what comes from the plants gets into surface and ground water. "None of these impoundments are lined," he said. "And if this is just open-pit that they're filling with this slurry, it's going to penetrate into the soil eventually, and reach the aquifer."
Advocacy groups argue these flame retardants don’t do what they’re supposed to do—namely, prevent fires—and have been linked to cancers, infertility and developmental problems.
Elizabeth Crowe of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation was involved in this study, as well as an earlier one that found levels of the chemicals in regular couches. She says the presence of toxic flame retardants in children’s furniture is even more concerning.
“Children are more vulnerable,” she said. “They spend more time on the floor. They put more things into their mouths. And as a result of that, plus they just breathe at a more rapid pace than adults, they tend to have a much higher body burden of these chemicals.”
Crowe says it’s not enough to just require companies to label furniture that contains these toxic chemicals.
“We can’t shop our way out of this problem,” she said. “The solutions really need to run much more deeply. It’s really not necessary to use these toxic chemicals in the first place. A much better strategy is to take them out and avoid the hazard altogether.”
One way to reduce the risk to children from exposure to flame retardants is to vacuum furniture frequently to remove any dust that might build up.
On Tuesday, October 29th, four representatives from KEF converged on Washington, DC, as part of the Stroller Brigade for Safer Chemicals at the U.S. Capitol. There, along with a hundred-plus crowd of mothers, health professionals and policy advocates from across the country, they participated in a rally before moving on to meet with members of Kentucky's congressional delegation.
KEF Community Educators Beth Ruggles of Lexington and Dr. Monica Unseld of Louisville carried the message of toxic chemical reform to Kentucky's legislators. "As a mother, I know how challenging it is to find products that are free of toxic chemicals," Ruggles said. "It's time that Washington gets back to business and passes strong laws on this issue."
Written by KEF Community Educator Beth Ruggles as an op-editorial for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Find the original version here.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Joe, a manager at the Target retail store in Lexington, as part of the national Mind the Store campaign. Over the last several months, Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens and several other large retailers of personal care and cleaning products have been asked to "mind the store" by offering products without toxic chemicals and requiring manufacturers to accurately label ingredients.
Like many Americans, Joe was unaware of the dangers lurking in common household products, and seemed skeptical. We like to believe that products are safe for our families.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
"Burden of Proof” is an exhibit of Kentucky photographers, profiling three Kentucky women who shared their stories about toxic chemical exposures and expressed the need for safer, healthier non-toxic solutions. On October 11 from 6:00-8:00pm, KEF will be hosting an open house event at the exhibit's new location: Summit City Lounge in Whitesburg, KY. Please join us for an informal discussion to learn about ways in which you can minimize your risk of toxic chemical exposure.
The Breast Cancer Fund released a report today that reviewed over 60 scientific studies looking at prenatal exposures to the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). The science is demonstrating an urgent need—while it is important to limit children’s exposure to BPA, prenatal exposures are an even more pressing concern. This report is a clarion call to legislators, manufacturers and all who care about public health that until we eliminate BPA from canned food, we are not protecting the next generation. BPA, found in most canned foods on our supermarket shelves, disrupts fetal development and sets the stage for later-life diseases, including breast cancer.
Information gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods was unveiled on a brand new website today to help Kentucky shoppers, including families, builders and others, learn how to identify potentially harmful products and find safer ones. SafeMarkets.org reflects the work of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and other organizations across the country that are working to remove toxic chemicals from the marketplace and promote an economy based on safe, sustainable products.
"We at KEF have been concerned about toxics in products we use every day for some time," says Elizabeth Crowe, the foundation's executive director. "We've found lead in lipstick, bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods and sodas, and other toxics in products--all of which are dangerous to the health of families across Kentucky. All this information can be found on the new SafeMarkets.org website."
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