Time to Perform a Health Check on Your “Stuff”
September 18, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennesseans now have a way to "check their stuff" with a new Web site listing hazardous chemicals and heavy metals found in everyday products - ranging from children's toys and women's handbags, to pet products, and more. www.HealthyStuff.org includes tests results on more than 5,000 common items.
Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, says the information is useful because, currently, consumers have only 'buyer-beware' to protect them.
"They don't necessarily have the information available to them to know which products are safe and which are not. They assume the government is making sure there are not unsafe products on the shelves."
Consumer products aren't adequately tested frequently enough for toxic chemicals, says Green, who adds the solution is comprehensive chemical policy at the federal level.
"That would require companies to provide this kind of information about the toxic chemicals in their products and there's legislation currently in Washington that's winding its way through committees right now to accomplish that."
To date, the EPA has required testing on only about 200 of the more-than 80,000 chemicals that have been on the market. The safety check database makes its debut as Congress is gearing up to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. That law, says Saunders, needs to be changed to require manufacturers to take responsibility for the safety of their products. Representatives of the chemical industry have suggested they could support stricter testing and information requirements, but caution lawmakers against dramatic changes to the law they say has worked well to protect consumers over the past three decades.