Cadmium

Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal that is used in batteries, industrial paints, metal coatings and as a stabilizer for plastics. It is mainly produced as a byproduct of smelting and refining of zinc concentrates.

Cadmium exposure comes from these products, from tobacco smoke, and from the burning of fossil fuels and municipal waste. It contaminates groundwater and builds up in food (fish, meat and plants). The US Department of Labor recognizes cadmium as a hazard to workers and cites severe health effects including cancer, pulmonary emphysema, and bone disease from chronic exposure to cadmium. Read more...




Toxics Bills Across the Country: The March is On!

Feb 26, 2013    Bookmark and Share

Children put everything in their mouths--including products that may contain toxic chemicals.

Last month, we let the world know that states aren't waiting for Congress to act when it comes to toxic chemicals—at least 26 of them will be introducing bills to make their residents safer. And the country has taken notice! The story of the state fight was read across the country, with everyone wondering how they could help their state step up and join the fight.

And now, these states aren't just considering toxics legislation—they're moving it through their state capitols! As legislative sessions get further underway, bills banning toxic chemicals are being introduced from Alaska to West Virginia!

As we mentioned in a recent post, the dangers of toxic flame retardants are a big concern, and bills have been introduced in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington—and more are sure to come as the sessions continue!

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Holiday Shopping: Safe Toy Tips

Nov 21, 2012    Bookmark and Share

Mom and Child toy shopping.

After the turkey is in the fridge and all the dishes are done, many will begin to prepare for Black Friday—the busiest shopping day of the year. If you are a Black Friday shopper, chances are that you will be buying toys for the kids in the family.

But before you do so, you may want to take a moment or two to consider what we reported on last week: the leadership organization that oversees toy manufacturing does not have your childrens' best interest at heart. Rather, they are most concerned with protecting the bottom line of a $21.2 billion industry.

While we at Safer States are working on the state level to pass laws which will protect children from toxic chemicals in toys and other products, there are a few things that you, as a consumer can do:

  1. Look for toys that are labeled BPA and phthalate free. This will help make sure that your children are protected from several of the worst-of-the-worst chemicals.
  2. Shop in stores (or on websites) that curate their products carefully. While it's hard to protect from all chemicals, at least shopping at stores that try and avoid bad chemicals will put some of the worry on the shopkeeper's shoulders instead of yours.
  3. Washington Toxics Coalition recommends that you avoid plastics, especially vinyl. Opt instead for unpainted wood toys, or something altogether different like books. You can read more of their tips here.
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28 states to consider toxic chemicals legislation in 2012

Jan 26, 2012    Bookmark and Share

With no action yet from Congress, state legislatures continue to work to protect citizens.

By Sarah Doll, National Director for Safer States.

With no action yet from Congress, state legislatures continue to work to protect citizens.

The past couple years have seen unprecedented changes in the toxic chemicals landscape across the United States. In the past nine years, over 80 chemical safety laws have been passed with an overwhelming margin of bi-partisan support in statehouses across the country.

 

But this is not a time to rest on our laurels. Across the country, families still come into contact with unregulated toxic chemicals. Every day, we are exposed to hundreds of different chemicals in our home and at our work—chemicals like formaldehyde and chlorinated Tris which are known carcinogens, and bisphenol-a (BPA) which contributes to health problems with reproductive development.

None of these chemicals are effectively regulated by the federal government: it is a widely held myth that manufacturers even have to prove a chemical's safety before introducing it into products we buy. They don't have to, and they won't often even disclose which chemicals make up their products. Instead, they hide behind the claim that the information is proprietary.

The hope for federal regulation is still that—just a hope; the law overseeing toxic chemical regulation is over 30 years old, and its overhaul is being buffeted by strong opposition from the industry trade association which is backed by billions of dollars of influence. So while Congress tries to figure out how to change the rules on the federal level, it is up to the states to fill the gap in protection.

The Safer States coalition, made up of groups of environmental advocates, physicians, nurses, parents, and concerned citizens, stands in support of laws and policies which will lighten the toxic chemical burden that our families, loved ones and community carry.

The fact that we have been able to consistently pass important laws during troubling economic times is encouraging. While much of the chemical industry would have us believe that such laws are anti-business and anti-profit, many other organizations see the writing on the wall: The way that chemicals get into everyday household goods and then into our homes is unsafe and dangerous.

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States join together to get rid of the worst-of-the-worst chemicals

Apr 29, 2011    Bookmark and Share

 

Many of the world's water sources are contaminated with dangerous PBT chemicals.

 

Persistent, bioaccumulative toxics, commonly known as PBTs, are a group of toxic chemicals that are joined together by some common features. Common PBTs in our lives include mercury, DDT, cadmium, lead, and several groups of chemicals including PCBs, toxic flame retardants (PBDEs) and dioxins. While these chemicals have many different uses in our lives, and different effects on our health, they are joined together by the following facts:

  1. PBTs are persistent. These chemicals are often used in manufacturing because of the exact features that cause great, great trouble in our environment: they don't break down, and they stay in the environment for a very long time. PCBs, for instance, are man-made mixtures of chlorinated compounds that are used in manufacturing because they are non-flammable, have a high boiling point, and are insoluble in water: all features that make them very difficult to dispose of.
  2. PBTs are bioaccumulative. Once these chemicals are ingested by living creatures, they build up in fatty tissue, and move up the food chain as they are consumed by bigger creatures, eventually making their way into our diets.
  3. PBTs are toxic. These chemicals have been associated with all manner of health effects: mercury affects the nervous system of developing fetuses, chronic exposure to DDT affects the liver and kidneys among other parts of the body, cadmium has been labeled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable carcinogen, lead exposure in adults results in neurological effects like seizures, PCBs pose a cancer risk, PBDEs have been found to be endocrine disruptors, and dioxins cause reproductive and developmental problems.
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30 states working together to change a nation

Feb 1, 2011    Bookmark and Share

Last week, legislators and environmental health advocates in thirty states and Washington, DC announced that they will be introducing bills during their states' 2011 legislative sessions that will protect children and families from harmful toxic chemicals.

In January, legislators and environmental health advocates in thirty states and Washington, DC announced that they will be introducing bills during their states' 2011 legislative sessions that will protect children and families from harmful toxic chemicals.

The proposed policies run the gamut from comprehensive laws that will promote safer alternatives to toxic chemicals to those that will outlaw specific toxic chemicals including cadmium, bisphenol-A (BPA), and toxic flame retardants. Public support is behind more stringent toxic chemicals laws, and legislators are hearing the message. A study released in November 2010 in conjunction with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families shows that 18 states have passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin.

Sarah Doll, National Coordinator for Safer States, a network of diverse environmental health coalitions and organizations in states around the country, is looking forward to legislative action in 2011. "This is going to be an exciting year. States are poised to further protect people across the nation from the harms of toxic chemicals."

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30 States to announce toxic chemicals legislation January 19

Jan 18, 2011    Bookmark and Share

2011-toxics-leg-states-safer2

In response to continued public concern over the presence of dangerous chemicals in common household products, coupled with Congressional inaction on the matter, on Wednesday, January 19, legislators and advocates in thirty states across the country and the District of Columbia will announce legislation aimed at protecting children and families from harmful chemicals.

Despite well-funded opposition from the chemical industry, 18 state legislatures have already passed 71 chemical safety laws in the last eight years by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin – with more to come this year.

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Safe toy buying tips for the season

Dec 3, 2010    Bookmark and Share

We should take extra sateps when buying toys for children this season.

The holiday season upon us, and it's time to buy presents for families and friends. While we do that, we should take a few extra steps to be sure that the toys that we're giving to our children are as safe and non-toxic as possible.

This holiday, here are our top toy buying tips for keeping children safe.

1. Avoid inexpensive children's jewelry unless you trust the manufacturer or source.

This year, we have seen several recalls of cheap children's jewelry due to high levels of cadmium. Cadmium is an extremely toxic chemical that builds up in our systems and can have long-term adverse consequences.

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Finally! Toy Makers Come Clean On Hidden Chemicals

Nov 8, 2010    Bookmark and Share

Hidden Chemicals Originally published at Washington Toxics Coalition.

Remember the Fall of 2007 when Thomas, Elmo, Dora, and over 20 million toys were pulled from toy store shelves because they contained high levels of lead? Parents and other concerned consumers were left wondering: what other harmful chemicals are hiding in toy boxes? Fortunately, thanks to new rules proposed in Washington state, we’re about to find out.

Last week, the Washington State Department of Ecology proposed new rules to require makers of children’s products to reveal whether they use chemicals harmful to children in their products. The rules are required by the Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008, a law passed by the Washington state legislature in response to the lead recalls of 2007.

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New home study: Harmful chemicals in our floors, walls

Oct 22, 2010    Bookmark and Share

Some floors and walls in our households contain chemicals that are harmful to babies.

We all know that children's toys should be checked for toxic chemicals, and many studies have done so, prompting removal of harmful chemicals and recalls of harmful products. Now a new study from the Ecology Center is focusing on home improvement products like flooring and wallpaper.

What chemicals are we exposing our families to in our homes?

The report found:

- 5% of all flooring samples had detectable levels of lead. Products with the highest percent of lead included vinyl sheet flooring and vinyl tile flooring.

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The trouble with cadmium

Jul 28, 2010    Bookmark and Share

Some inexpensive jewelry intended for children has been recalled recently due to high cadmium levels.

Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal that is used in batteries, industrial paints, metal coatings and as a stabilizer for plastics. It is mainly produced as a byproduct of smelting and refining of zinc concentrates.

You may have heard of cadmium in the news in the past six months, after an Associated Press (AP) report in January found high levels of cadmium in inexpensive children's jewelry products.

This was alarming because children often put things like jewelry in their mouths, which introduces cadmium directly into their bodies, increasing health risks for kidney problems, bone issues, immune system suppression and cancer.

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