This holiday season, the best gift Trader Joe's, Kohl’s and Sally Beauty can give us is a commitment to a toxic-free future.
But toxic chemicals are hiding in everyday products all around us, from cleaning products and cosmetics to baby toys, electronics and foods. These chemicals are produced by corporate polluters like Exxon Mobil and DowDuPont and end up in products that are sold by many of the nation's biggest retailers in thousands of stores across the country. As Sharon Lerner reported last year on The Intercept, "Petrochemicals accounted for more than a quarter of Exxon Mobil’s $16 billion in net profits last year and wound up in a wide range of consumer products such as plastics, tires, batteries, detergents, adhesives, synthetic fibers and household detergents."
Toxic chemicals and public health
Scientists, doctors and nurses around the country are sounding the alarm that exposure to toxic chemicals commonly found in everyday household products is contributing to diseases and health problems such as cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, diabetes and asthma.
Last year, a collaboration of scientists, health professionals and children's and environmental advocates called Project TENDR released a Consensus Statement as a national call to action to "significantly reduce exposures to chemicals and pollutants that are contributing to neurodevelopmental disorders in America's children."
"Children in America today are at an unacceptably high risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders that affect the brain and nervous system including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities, and other learning and behavioral disabilities," read the statement, which was endorsed by over a dozen national and international health organizations, including the American Nurses Association, the Child Neurology Society and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
Whether we're shopping for holiday gifts or everyday items, we can all agree that no one should have to wonder whether the products found on store shelves contain chemicals that could one day make us sick. Parents shouldn't have to worry whether their children's car seat contains cancer-causing flame retardants. We shouldn't have to wonder whether the fragrance in our teenage daughter’s shampoo is formulated with hormone-disrupting phthalates, or if our food is packaged with extremely persistent chemicals like poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).