With thousands of untested chemicals in our everyday products, have we all become unwitting guinea pigs in one giant human experiment? The powerful and inspiring new documentary “The Human Experiment” goes behind the scenes in the fight to protect us from these toxic products before they cause irrevocable harm to our health.
Sponsored by WVIFF,WV Rivers Coalition & WV Citizen Action Group
Elk River Blues, sparked into existence after the historic spill in January 2014 of over 10,000 gallons of a coal-cleaning chemical called ‘crude MCHM’, documents the culture of lax regulation and legislative oversight in West Virginia.
WHAT: At the next monthly meeting of the Chemical Release Prevention Project, the Roadmap Planning Team will host a presentation on the European Water Framework Directive by Dr. Michael McCawley, Interim Chair, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences at WVU’s School of Public Health.
WHO: People Concerned About Chemical Safety (PCACS) is a community organization in the Kanawha Valley that has been active in community affairs for over 25 years. Dedicated to the protection of health and safety of all who reside, work, and study in the vicinity of chemical facilities, we promote environmental justice and chemical safety through education and advocacy. PCACS is spearheading roadmap planning for a Chemical Release Prevention Program in Kanawha Valley.
WHEN: Friday, March 20 (10am-12pm); public comments will be taken at the end of the meeting.
WHY: Each month, PCACS convenes monthly meetings of the Roadmap Planning Team to plan next steps in the development of a Kanawha Valley chemical release prevention program. This program is guided by a recommendation made by the United States Chemical Safety Board following their investigations into the deadly 2008 Bayer CropScience explosion and the fatal 2010 DuPont phosgene release. The team is reviewing and considering models successful in reducing the frequency and severity of chemical disasters and best protect our water. Also being considered are recent chemical disasters including the Freedom Industries Elk River chemical leak and Bakken crude oil derailment, along with public input. As enacted under SB373, the Aboveground Storage Tank bill, the Public Water Supply Service Study Commission will review the outcomes of this roadmap in consideration of their final recommendations to the legislature in June 2015.
The next meeting of the Chemical Release Prevention Program Roadmap Planning Team will be Friday, March 20, 2015 from 10-12pm at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (First Floor Conference Room). This and all meetings of the Chemical Release Prevention Program Roadmap Planning Team are open to the public and include time for public comment.
Please take just a moment to send this important message to the CEOs of the three largest dollar store chains asking them to adopt policies to identify, dislose, and replace hazardous chemicals in the products they sell.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
New Report Finds 81% of Dollar Store Products Tested Contain One or More Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Learning Disabilities, Cancer & Other Serious Illnesses
People Concerned About Chemical Safety Joins More than 100 Organizations Call on Dollar Stores to Protect Communities of Color and Low-Income Families from Toxic Products
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions – a group of over 100 health, community, and environmental justice organizations around the country – released a report today about toxic chemicals found in Dollar store products. The report — A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Discount Retailers are Falling Behind on Safer Chemicals – includes testing results for 164 dollar store products such as toys, jewelry, school supplies and other household items, that found over 81% (133 of 164) contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern. 15 of these products were purchased from Dollar stores in the Kanawha Valley.
The campaign also sent a letter today to the CEO’s of the four largest Dollar store chains — including Family Dollar (tentatively acquired by Dollar Tree on January 22), Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 99 Cents Only – urging them to stop the sale of products with hazardous chemicals to communities of color and low-income families, who already live in more polluted areas and “food deserts,” and adopt policies that will protect both customers and their businesses. Combined these discount chains have sales totaling over $36 billion and operate more stores nationally than Walmart.
“Many West Virginians struggling to make ends meet are confined to shopping at dollar stores for everyday products,” said Maya Nye, Executive Director of People Concerned About Chemical Safety. “Many of these products contain chemicals known to cause birth defects, cancer, learning disabilities and diabetes among other serious illnesses. Everyone deserves access to healthy products, not just those who can afford it.”
The chemicals of concern found in Dollar store products tested for this report include: phthalates, linked to birth defects, reduced fertility, cancer, learning disabilities, diabetes, and other health issues; polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC or vinyl), which creates hazards throughout its life cycle and has been linked to asthma and lung effects; and toxic metals such as lead, which harms brain development, leading to learning disabilities, lower IQ, and cause other serious health impacts, especially in children.
Other key findings from A Day Late and a Dollar Short include:
49% of products tested (80 of 164) contained two or more hazardous chemicals above levels of concern;
38% of the products tested (63 of 164) contained the toxic plastic PVC (vinyl);
32% of a subset of vinyl products tested for phthalates (12 of 38) contained levels of phthalates above the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limit for children’s products.
12 of the 20 products purchased in the Kanawha Valley had levels of chlorine from 3 to over 100 times greater than the level of concern.
One toy purchased in the Kanawha Valley, Silly Straws, contained levels of phthalates greater than the CPSC regulated limit for children’s products.
In addition, 40% of sales at Dollar stores go toward food products (not tested for this report) – much of which is highly processed with low nutritional quality, and whose packaging is another potential source of toxic chemicals including bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic hormone linked to breast and others cancers, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.
Fortunately, there is a growing movement by mainstream retail and manufacturing brands – including Target and Walmart – to respond to consumer demand for safer products with publicly-available corporate policies that identify, disclose, and replace priority toxic chemicals with safer alternatives. By failing to address toxic chemicals through comprehensive policies, Dollar chains are not only putting their customers at risk, they are exposing their businesses to the fate of companies like Mattel, which lost 18% of its value after recalling toys with lead paint, and Sigg USA, which went bankrupt after failing to disclose toxic BPA in its water bottles.
“Many safer products are available. There are also a number of resources available to help Dollar stores transition to healthier solutions for their customers,” says Maya Nye.
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions is asking for a comprehensive set of reforms, including that:
Discount Retailers immediately remove children’s products found to contain regulated phthalates and lead from store shelves; and adopt comprehensive corporate chemical management policies to identify, disclose, and remove hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and from all products in their stores, beginning with their house brands.
Local, State, and Federal Governments ensure that discount retailers comply with all relevant laws and regulations; and adopt public policies (such as Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Law and Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act) that require manufacturers and retailers to disclose hazardous chemicals in products, research alternatives, and remove hazardous chemicals when alternatives are available, effective, and safer.
Families and Communities let Dollar store chains know that they want safer products, and join local and national efforts advocating for nontoxic products.
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions is led by Coming Clean and the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform. Participating organizations include: Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Clean and Healthy New York, Clean Water Action, Coming Clean, Greenpeace, Healthy Building Network, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Lideres Campesinas, Los Jardines Institute, Moms Clean Air Force, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Women’s Voices for the Earth.
DUNBAR, WV – People across the Kanawha Valley had a chance to have their voices heard about how to improve chemical safety. The goal of the meetings allowed residents a chance to have conversations about local chemical safety and to find out what solutions other states have implemented.
“I came here today to become empowered and educated, so I can go out in my community and have information,” said Cyndi McGill of Nitro.
Clark spoke in Charleston on Friday as part of a two-day Summit on Chemical Safety in West Virginia, sponsored by the group People Concerned About Chemical Safety. The event continues Saturday at Ferguson Baptist Church, in Dunbar.
DUNBAR, W.Va. — Friday marked the start of a two-day summit on chemical safety that will explore solutions to prevent chemical disasters in West Virginia.
Especially those at highest risk like people living in lower income neighborhoods that are situated right next door to some of the Kanawha Valley’s biggest chemical plants.
On the fifth anniversary of the fatal incident at the DuPont facility in Belle, people concerned about chemical safety are hosing the summit.
The summit is part of a year-long project dedicated to exploring recommendations made by the Chemical Safety Board, and to developing a roadmap for preventing another chemical release in West Virginia.
The summit continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church on Marshall Avenue in Dunbar.