Science & Policy Blog

A Huge Success for Healthier Buildings

On January 16, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to update the state’s building codes to allow below-grade use of foam plastic building insulation without flame retardants. Building insulation–where there is no fire safety benefit–is one of the largest uses of toxic flame retardants.…

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Congress opens the door for fluorine-free firefighting foams

On October 5, federal legislation was enacted which will allow commercial airports in the U.S. to use firefighting foams without PFAS.  Until now, FAA rules have required airports to use firefighting foams that meet the U.S. military’s specification, which requires the use of PFAS.  Firefighting foam is a major source of PFAS contamination, so this should mean healthier drinking water for those living near airports.…

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On America Recycles Day, What Goes Around Comes Around, & It Might Be Toxic

Thursday, November 15 is America Recycles Day, when we celebrate the individuals, recycling companies, and governments that are diverting millions of pounds of materials otherwise headed to landfills.
But there can be a hidden danger in recycling. For example, millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants are added to furniture foam, plastic TV cases and other electronics. Recycled plastic containing flame retardants can end up in unlikely and undesirable places. Flame retardants have been found in lunch boxes, children’s toys, and even soup ladles. What’s worse, they can move from the ladle into the broth, making “toxic chemical soup” less of a metaphor and more of a frightening reality.…

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Aerial fire retardants: It’s raining red

A wet winter followed by record heat this summer have contributed to one of California’s worst-ever fire seasons. In the month of October alone, thousands of structures have been destroyed in fires in Northern California as more than ten separate wildfires have burned across the state. Firefighters have literally worked around the clock; and over the course of just five days, more than two million gallons of fire retardant were dropped in California in an effort to control the blazes.…

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The Obesity Epidemic: What’s To Blame?

About one in three adults is obese in the United States. Another one in three adults is overweight. Altogether, almost 228 million Americans are struggling with their weight. Although many factors contribute to the obesity epidemic, one recent discovery stands out: environmental toxics.…

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Horrors of the Deep: Our Toxic Legacy Still Haunts Us

Lulu was found on the rocky shores of Scotland tangled in fishing line. An autopsy revealed high levels of human-made toxics called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were banned almost two decades before Lulu was born. Yet, they seeped out of landfills, contaminated the choppy seas, and collected in her fatty tissue…

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Thank you Dr. Needleman

With over 80,000 chemicals on the market, we live in an increasingly synthetic chemical world. So it’s easy to forget the handful of toxic naturally occurring chemicals; particularly elemental chemicals like lead. Nestled into the earth’s crust, sequestered away as life took shape, and eventually discovered by ever-innovative humans.…

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A Day in the Life at GSP: Veronica Chin

As Program Associate, Veronica Chin leads GSP’s role in the Foam Furniture Replacement Study. The “Dust Study,” as we call it, replaces old furniture containing flame retardants with new furniture without those chemicals for low-income families in the Bay Area. In collaboration with UC Davis and Biomonitoring California, we are testing the old furniture for chemical content, and measuring levels of flame retardants in house dust over time.…

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