Newsletters

February 2017: Consuming Toxic Chemicals with our Fast Food?

Since our last newslettter we have made significant progress with our efforts to reduce the use of highly fluorinated stain and water repellents. Our joint paper Fluorinated compounds in US fast food packaging was downloaded over 4,000 times in the first week after publication, and received major press coverage around the world. The paper illuminates the widespread use of these chemicals in food packaging – the first step towards reducing their use. Several fast food chains had not known their packaging contained fluorinated…

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January 2017: Foot Soldiers of Change

Our sincere thanks to many of you who contributed to our Institute’s very successful end-of-year fundraising campaign. With your support, we will continue our work of sharing cutting edge science to reduce toxics and protect health. Please join us on February 10, 2017 for our annual Flame Retardant Dilemma & Beyond Symposium at UC Berkeley to learn more, and network with others who care about working for healthier products, people, and planet. You can see the agenda here and register here. More…

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November 2016: Fall Back: To a Healthier Home

Might your couch still contain toxic flame retardants? Staying with friends in a Colorado mountain town, I was surprised to find myself sitting on a couch with a TB117 label, which meant we were all still being exposed to these harmful chemicals. My friends were eager for advice on what they could do for a healthier home with less flame retardants and I thought you might be too. The great news is that furniture standards were updated two years ago so…

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September 2016: Planes, Trains, and Toxic Chemicals

We have excellent news since our last newsletter on Troubled Waters: the U.S. Air Force will switch to using water during fire-fighting training exercises, instead of persistent and toxic highly fluorinated chemicals. This announcement follows extensive press coverage that began with our Madrid Statement and included our recent joint paper finding that the drinking water of at least 6 million Americans is polluted with these chemicals, and pointing to fire-fighting foam used at military bases and airports as a source.…

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August 2016: Troubled Waters

My recent experience of “troubled waters” ranged from Cape Cod, where I vacationed at a beach with great white shark warnings, to the publication of our collaborative paper in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, which finds that the drinking water of 6 million–and likely many more–Americans is contaminated with highly fluorinated chemicals. One of our Six Classes of chemicals of concern, they provide stain and water repellency, and can be used in fire-fighting foam. Exposure to these extremely persistent chemicals is…

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July 2016: POPs on Top

I am just back from Alaska where I enjoyed both mountain and molecule adventures. After a rare week offline in the backcountry, I presented two keynote talks at “Chemistry Under the Midnight Sun,” an American Chemical Society meeting. A most moving part of my trip was speaking for Alaska Community Action on Toxics and learning the sad fact that Arctic indigenous people have amongst the highest level of toxics such as flame retardants and PCBs in their bodies–and also have very high…

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May 2016: A Big Mistake 40 Years Later

Today’s very big news is the release of  the long-awaited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifetime drinking water Health Advisories for the highly fluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS. These harmful chemicals, used to provide stain and water repellancy, can be found in food, in drinking water, and in nearly all of us. Here’s a dramatic CBS news story for which I was interviewed. To learn more about fluorinated chemicals, check out our web page, listen to our Six Classes webinar or my recent KPFA interview on Sticky…

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April 2016: Celebrating Ten Years of “Tackling Toxics”

Ten years ago I attended the spring 2006 California Chemical Policy Symposium. At that time, I had not been doing scientific research for 26 years and hoped for any chance to contribute to science. I’d have been happy to wash test tubes in a lab! I learned that the harmful flame retardant chlorinated tris, which my research had helped remove from children’s pajamas in the 1970s, was back–in the nation’s furniture–and began the work that led to my founding the Green…

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