We’re working in communities and with companies to zero out the toxic chemicals that put our health and environment at risk.

There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, used in everything from perfumes and household cleaners to fertilizers and industrial solvents.

These chemicals are created to make our lives better, and many of them do. Yet most of them go directly into use without testing their impact on our health, or the long-term consequences for the environment. Given what we know about the potential harm some chemicals can do, we shouldn’t rush a chemical into widespread industrial or commercial use before we know for sure that it’s safe. Certainly, we should stop using the ones we know are toxic.

  • <h4>Ban Roundup</h4><p>Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is the most commonly used pesticide in the country. Recently, the cancer research agency at the World Health Organization determined that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. We’re working to ban Roundup unless and until it’s proven safe.</p><em>Fotokostic via Shutterstock</em>
  • <h4>Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides</h4><p>From 2015 to 2016, our country lost 44 percent of its bees. Scientists point to pesticides, in particular a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics) as a prime factor. Why would we continue to spray millions of pounds of these pesticides in the middle of massive bee die-offs?</p><em>pixabay.com</em>
  • <h4>Make It Toxic-Free</h4><p>Most people are surprised to learn that companies like Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal and Unilever are allowed to use nearly any chemical they want as an ingredient in their personal care products, and many of these chemicals have been linked to serious health impacts, including cancer. That’s why we’re calling on the big three personal care companies, L’Oréal, P&G and Unilever, to Make It Toxic-Free.</p><em>Hannah Rosen via Flickr, CC-BY-2.0</em>
Our Approach

Through our research, advocacy and campaigns, we’re working to:

Give communities the right to know: Simply put: if it’s in use, we should be able to find out about it. We have the right to know what chemicals are in the products we buy, that are stored at the factory down the street, or that are sprayed on our crops, parks or schoolyards.

Prove it’s safe: Companies should be required to prove that a chemical or process won’t endanger our health or the environment before it’s put into use. And once reasonable concerns about a chemical's risk have been established, we should stop its widespread use unless and until independent research proves it's not harmful.

Eliminate chemicals of concern: Some chemicals are so dangerous, or pose such a risk to our health or the environment, that we should stop their use immediately.

Zero out toxics: We should require that manufacturers develop plans to phase out the use of any chemical that has been proven to be toxic and replace it with the best available alternative.

None of this is easy, since some of the policies meant to safeguard us from toxics are stuck in the past. And unfortunately, the current administration in Washington, D.C., is slashing some of the EPA and FDA programs that do exist to protect us from toxic threats. So to get us closer to zeroing out toxics, we need to work in our state, in cities, and directly with the companies that are creating or using these toxic chemicals.

Toxic-Free Communities

In addition to our campaigns, we’re working to protect our communities from toxic threats from chemical facilities and the storage of toxic chemicals near our homes and schools. According to the EPA, roughly 150 chemical disasters occur each year. And the risks of exposure to toxic chemicals are often increased in the wake of a natural disaster.

Our national toxics team works to inform communities about the potential threats lurking in their communities, and provide information about what to do in a situation when toxic exposure can occur. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, our experts monitored the rising flood waters and the risk they would pose to chemical plants and other toxic threats. We then worked with the media to get out alerts related to dozens of chemical hazards. And we continue to monitor cleanup efforts to ensure the toxic threat is dealt with properly.

Currently, we are pressuring the EPA to require companies to take a critical first step in protecting our communities: tell local first responders about the chemicals facilities are storing in these hazardous sites.

Track Record Of Success

Our national network has helped eliminate toxic chemicals from art supplies, advocated for cleanup of toxic waste sites, and fought and won toxics right-to-know laws from California to New Jersey to Massachusetts. Our respected team of national organizers, advocates and public health researchers is active in 25 states, working to protect people from exposure to harmful chemicals. Our work has led to more than 150 recalls and other enforcement actions of dangerous products.

In just the past year, we’ve been able to convince Unilever and P&G to commit to disclosing fragrance ingredients, and convinced SC Johnson to remove the toxic chemical galaxolide from its products. We also completed a study that found high levels of lead in certain fidget spinners, and as a result, Target removed the spinners from its stores.

Top photos (clockwise from top left) DGL Images via Shutterstock, Matel Kastelic via Shutterstock, pixabay.com, staff, staff, pixabay.com.