Appeal to your representative Senators!

Toxic chemicals surround us. We envelope ourselves and our children in toxic perfumed laundry detergents; we smear our bodies and hair with untested creams, gels and shampoos. We further damage our health with pesticides used in lawn and garden care, and in agriculture. It is time for legislation to replace the never adequate and very outdated Toxics Substances Control Act. To view each entry, just click on the title or link(s) within each entry.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why Support something like The Chemical Safety Improvement Act

Why Support a safe chemicals act?

For starters, The American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the Late Senator Frank Lautenberg's (NJ) and  Senator Kristen Gillibrand's (NYSafe Chemicals Act (now being called The Chemical Safety Improvement Act), to finally bring legitimate oversight to over 80,000 untested chemicals in our marketplace --permitted by the EPA. The newest draft will replace the very outdated Toxic Substances Control Act which is over 40 years old and has always been woefully inadequate in protecting our health from manufactured toxins. Our stores are brimming over with everyday products that contain very harmful chemicals--  shampoos, soaps, skin lotions, and detergents, weed and feed lawn formulas, furniture and foods!

Why to Avoid Lawn/Garden and other Untested Synthetic Pesticides:

The Natural Resources Defense Council's most recent findings that we have been using over 10,000 toxic pesticides that have not been tested or have been under-tested:

"The report outlines how the EPA has used what is known as conditional registration—which Congress intended to be used sparingly—to grant approval for the majority of pesticides. It also reveals that the EPA cannot easily track the history of conditionally approved pesticides to determine whether required toxicity data was submitted, whether that caused a dangerous use of a pesticide to be cancelled, or whether the uses or restrictions should be modified based in such data.

“The American public may think all pesticides receive rigorous health and safety testing before they hit the shelves for sale. But our investigation shows their trust is misplaced,” said Jennifer Sass, NRDC senior health scientist and co-author of the report. “The EPA has casually approved more than 10,000 pesticides for use in consumer products and in agriculture through this loophole. They’ve done so without transparency or public comment, and, in some cases, without toxicity tests to determine safety guidelines for public use.”

Co-author Mae Wu, NRDC attorney, said: “For the sake of our health, the EPA should cancel conditional pesticide registrations with overdue toxicity tests and those that pose a risk to the public. And EPA needs to clean up its abysmal pesticide database to provide more transparency and accountability, and safeguards for public health.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics is very concerned about pesticide use in and around the home and they are recommending that people avoid their use, especially near children.
Neonatologist, Paul Winchester at University of Indiana School of Medicine states in a discussion at Beyond Pesticide's 28th National Pesticide Forum in Ohio, April 2010:
" Basically this is what we have learned, just so we do not have to argue whether pesticides are in your body or in your water. That is the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" part... We know from extensive research that pesticides and contaminants are in all of us all the time; We also know that it is not just one pesticide that we are contaminated with, it is a mixture of chemicals. We also know that the contaminants that we are loaded with- and this includes the 247 molecules found in every single newborn baby born in America-each one of them is known to cause biological effects at very low doses; And the final truth is that our regulatory agencies have told us that we are safe."  
He goes on to say that "when the EPA requires testing of a product for safety, tests are performed on a single molecule, never the mixture combinations in your body." "These environmental factors--weed killer, fungicide insecticide, air pollution... -- are the list of things we have to worry about during pregnancy or conception. All of these have now been shown to be capable of imprinting DNA, which means they are potentially capable of altering our adult life, the spectrum of disease, and our descendants' lives. I was thinking of 'inherit the wind' here, but it really should be 'inherit the weed killer." 

From the US National Library of Medicine  and National Institutes of Health:

This report has shown that during the period from 1996 to 2002 women in the United States with LMPs in April–July (i.e. the time of conception) were significantly more likely to have a live birth with a birth defect than in other months. The report further demonstrates, using NAWQA surface water samples that concentrations of atrazine, nitrates and other pesticides also were higher in the months of April–July. The correlation between birth defects, pesticides and nitrates was statistically significant.

Pesticides and nitrates, separately and in combination, have been linked to embryo toxicity and to untoward outcomes of pregnancy (,). Women's pesticide exposures through household gardening, professional application or living in close proximity to agricultural crops were associated with increased risks of offspring having neural tube defects and limb anomalies (). Garry et al. found that in western Minnesota the rate of specific birth defects was elevated in pesticide applicators as well as the general population of western Minnesotans and that this risk was most pronounced for infants conceived in the spring (). Specific birth defect categories showing significant increased risk in Garry's study were circulatory/respiratory, urogenital and musculoskeletal/integumental which are similar to the categories found in our study. Schreinemachers et al. found that infants in four wheat-producing states conceived in April–June, the time of herbicide application, were more likely to have circulatory/respiratory (excluding heart) malformations compared with births conceived during other months. She also found that counties with high wheat acreage had higher rates of heart malformations, musculoskeletal/integumental anomalies and infant death from congenital anomalies in males ().
2,4-D, the main herbicide in most synthetic weed and feed products is an Endocrine Disruptor as well as a Reproductive toxin. It is linked with neurotoxicity, and organ damage and cancer. It is toxic to animals, fish, worms and insects. It is what the herbicide Atrazine is to Agriculture with similar adverse health effects to humans.

The EPA says that 2,4-D is irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membrane and since it is easily absorbed dermally or by inhalation, can injure liver, kidney, muscle and brain tissues. Acute symptoms of exposure include: chest and abdominal pain, vomiting, dizziness and muscle twitching, tenderness or stiffness (U.S. EPA 1982). Studies in rats have demonstrated that 2,4-D can migrate into nervous tissue and concentrate in certain areas of the brain. Not too surprisingly, behavioral changes have also been observed in treated rats (Evangelista de Duffard 1990). In humans, seemingly minor dermal exposures have been known to cause peripheral neuropathy (irreversible loss of feeling in the extremities). Depression, lethargy and coma have also been documented in animals and humans.     
Finally, from the Toxics Action Center which works to keep environmental and human health safe from exposures to toxins, in this case, from lawn chemicals:
 Even though these pesticides are proven to be hazardous to public health and the environment, USEPA’s pesticide regulatory system has put its stamp of approval on the use of these pesticides. Although a growing pool of research links exposure to the pesticides used by TruGreen ChemLawn to nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches and chronic illnesses like lymphoma, leukemia, bladder cancer, and learning disabilities, the USEPA continues to register these pesticides for commercial and residential use.
Some hospitals are opting to change grounds care to alternative, safe, organic methods-- they are finally making the connection between exposures to pesticides and illnesses. There is great urgency in changing protocol; present and future human health is at great risk from exposures to toxins in lawn and other pesticides. "Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 35 municipalities in New Jersey have bans on synthetic pesticide use on public properties. Connecticut and New York have restrictions at the state level and Maine and Massachusetts look ready to have state restrictions on weed and feed use on school grounds, playing fields and parks. Many people are simply just opting to use what they know is safe. The manufacturers of lawn and garden as well as other synthetic pesticides cannot legally call them "safe". The purveyors of the pesticides cannot legally call them "safe." In New Hampshire, only one person oversees the licensed lawn chemical applicators and often, these businesses "treat" lawns and land in windy conditions which is not in accordance with training and regulations.

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