Guest Post: Chemical Industry Launches Website Telling Parents Chemicals Are Safe and Fun

I was pretty appalled when I saw this new Web site sponsored by the chemical industry that aims to make harmful chemicals in household products look safe and even fun! As green advocates face an uphill battle against greenwashing corporations, this is just the latest nonsense to get in the way of progress and change for the safety and health of our families.

Lindsay Dahl of of Safer Chemicals has written a great post on this:

Chemical industry sponsors website trying to calm worried parents

By Lindsay Dahl

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 families 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.

Take action today!

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