March 2019: A Killer Smile

I’m recently back from Washington, D.C. where I facilitated PFAS 101 discussions on highly fluorinated chemicals-or PFAS-for the PFAS House Task Force and with Senate staff. The increasing number of communities dealing with PFAS contamination is leading to considerable interest on the Hill in providing clean water for constituents and legislation to reduce contamination. Our message is: “PFAS are problematic and difficult to clean up, so prevention is preferable.”…

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February 2019: A New Canary in the Coal Mine?

The last month has seen much activity around the chemical classes of flame retardants and highly fluorinated chemicals or PFAS. At our February 15 Flame Retardant Dilemma and Beyond Symposium at UC Berkeley, we were inspired by speakers such as Robert Bilott, the lawyer who successfully represents communities with PFAS-contaminated drinking water, and Pam Miller who helps Arctic peoples who have some of the world’s highest levels of these toxics in their bodies.…

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Phthoughts on phthalates: odd spelling, clear problem

Have you ever heard of phthalates or DEHP? I hadn’t either, until I read a recent US study that monitored nearly 800 pregnant women and found that exposure to a common household chemical called DEHP may alter infant boys’ genitals before birth, along with potentially being linked to a host of other health problems. In 2008, the US issued a nationwide ban on DEHP and two other phthalates (DBP and BBP) in children’s toys at levels higher than 0.1%; the…

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Giants of industry move toward healthier products

It started in 2012 when Johnson & Johnson pledged to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde and parabens from its product line which includes Aveeno, Neutrogena, and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. They have already removed triclosan from their baby products.  The target date for the entire phase out is the end of 2015. Then, earlier this month, the world’s largest personal care company, Proctor & Gamble, announced its plan to eliminate triclosan and diethyl phthalate (DEP) from all of its products.  The process…

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First-in-the-nation report on chemicals in kids’ products

Recently, my niece and nephew stopped by a neighborhood street fair.  There was the usual fare but most fun, as far as the kids were concerned, was the face painting.  My niece opted for a pink kitty face.  My five year old nephew went for the zombie (of course).  As they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.  After removing the face paint with “hypoallergenic” eye makeup remover wipes his eyes began to swell shut.  He went…

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