By Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director
It’s really pretty gross. And transparent.
A new website was launched called “Kids + Chemical Safety,” hosted by a non-profit organization, yet sponsored by the largest coalition of chemical manufacturers in the country. Their stated goal? To provide "balanced information" for parents and consumers.
The website is adorned with pictures of children playing, drinking from baby bottles, having a good ole time with their toys. And yet the information is dangerously misleading.
Some of the information on this new website is innocuous, useful information for parents, like poison control numbers and choking hazards. But despite this cynical attempt to give their website credibility, the content about chemicals is both misleading and wrong.
Here’s some of what they say and why it’s wrong:
- Don’t worry about arsenic in your apple juice! The website uses arsenic in apple juice as an example of why we don’t need to worry about low-level contaminants in food and products. Many of us learned “the dose makes the poison” back in high school chemistry class, but the old adage no longer adds up. We now know from the world’s best scientists that many times very low doses of chemicals can cause harm. Take toxic flame retardants for example -- since they are persistent and build up in the food chain, a small exposure builds up over time. Some chemicals like hormone-disrupting chemicals cause more harm at lower doses.
- Dismissing toxic chemical links to asthma. They describe the many things that are linked to asthma in our homes, but are quick to dismiss the links between toxic chemicals and asthma, trying to discredit scientific studies showing links between asthma symptoms and chemicals. They go on to note that regular cleaning (with toxic chemical laden products?) can help decrease dust and reduce asthma symptoms. C’mon! Our Chemicals and Health Report outlines how many household cleaners are linked to asthma. How is omitting important information about chemicals and asthma “balanced and scientifically accurate?”
- Defending peer-reviewed science and then ignoring it. Under the subheading “Sorting through conflicting information,” the website tells you not to believe science that hasn’t been through the peer-reviewed process and yet it clearly ignores the large body of peer-reviewed science showing links between chemicals and health trends. We agree that peer-reviewed papers should be used as the gold standard for finding trusted science and information, but then we must listen and respond to the large body of science showing links between toxic chemicals and childhood cancer, harming the developing brain and early puberty.
We’ve seen this over and over. It was just a few years ago that a similar website from the “Coalition for Chemical Safety” popped up looking just like ours! The public health community was so successful in discrediting this front group, they eventually took down the website, and got busy building this new one.
The chemical industry coalition I mentioned, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is listed as one of the supporters of the website. How much do they care about protecting your family's health? They have been fighting the Safe Chemicals Act every step of the way through Congress.
Don’t be duped. The chemical industry does not have your children’s health foremost in their mind and apparently this non-profit doesn’t either. At Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, we work with the best scientists and physicians to provide you with good science and steps to take action and protect your family.
Please take action and send an email to your Senators letting them know that you’re not falling for the latest PR stunt by the chemical industry, and neither should they.
For more information on what is misleading about this website, check out Richard Denison’s blog “Chemicals R Us: New ACC sponsored website says chemicals are safe and fun for kids!”
I was born in mid 60s and have brothers born in the 50s, all our toys had lead and on the house etc..Cars poluated more and we were living in a house where the public buses stop ever 10min on each side of the house living downtown a the big city and on the top of it the parents smoked and the visitors, cigars, pipes cigarettes etc..We are all well amd lean ! I just don't believe in all those studies anymore! Yes chemicals is not good for us but there are others industries now who want to make money from that propaganda...If the kids these days are fat its because they dont play outside anymore,playing outside was sportsPosted by: mary | Dec 21, 2012 7:02:30 PM
This chemical industry will stop at nothing to convince us that we are not in harm's way. Consumers are wishing up and the technology/internet is on our side. You can run, but you can't hide!!! Poison is poison, and millions of innocent victims are suffering at the hands of profit over safety. Sick! I wonder how these chemical pushers can sleep at night.Posted by: John | Dec 20, 2012 6:31:29 AM
I am laughing so hard! As soon as I began using safer cleaning products and eliminated plug in air fresheners, my daughters' asthma symptoms subsided.Posted by: Shane@EnviroBooty | Dec 19, 2012 4:31:25 PM
Alexandra -- I hope you're right! I like to picture the collective eye rolling of moms across America. Public opinion polling confirms what we've found, the chemical industry, and the ACC, have little credibility with the public. Jenny- thanks for sharing this info with your friends.Posted by: Safer Chemicals | Dec 19, 2012 1:51:42 PM
Ack! Have they no shame? They will NOT fool this gal. I've just shared with my friends, another reason the chemical industry deserves coal in their stockings this year.Posted by: Jenny | Dec 19, 2012 1:26:36 PM
I think that fortunately, too many moms now get it and they are not going to be duped. Every time the Chemical Council comes out with a counter declaration on, say NPR, that whatever chemical is safe, like BPA, I have this vision of millions of listeners rolling their eyes.Posted by: Alexandra | Dec 19, 2012 11:35:26 AM