We’re all guinea pigs whether we know it or not. Everyday, American families use an array of products that contain synthetic chemicals, some of them toxic: children’s toys, carpeting, cookware, cosmetics and countless other household items. Even the water you drink or your favorite fish may contain toxic chemicals. But our nation’s decades-old toxic chemical law does not require the makers of chemicals to show they’re safe before they can be used in consumer products.
For Americans concerned about the safety of chemicals, EDF has just launched a new online campaign that provides tools and information they can use to press for fundamental reform of our toxic chemical law. I Am Not a Guinea Pig engages Americans from all walks of life to demand better protection of human health and the environment as Congress debates how to overhaul the 34-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), widely regarded as one of the weakest of all major U.S. environmental laws. For the first time in over 30 years, revisions to TSCA are being debated in Congress.
Learn more about toxic household chemicals
For the initial launch, the site provides information and resources tailored to:
- Teens and Toxic Chemicals in Products
- Kids & Chemicals: Developing Brains At Risk
- Health Professionals and Chemical Exposures
“Chemicals are everywhere around us, and many are simply not safe,” said Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Countless products we use on a daily basis are made with chemicals that science is linking to the rising rates of childhood cancers, infertility, learning disabilities and more. It’s time Congress acts to stop these unregulated exposures to protect the health of Americans for generations to come.”
Take action now: Help strengthen America’s toxic chemicals standards
Start eliminating household chemicals in your home by switching to green cleaning products from companies like Seventh Generation, Bi-O-Kleen, and Ecover.
I am particularly disappointed with this campaign. I think the larger problem we are facing is precisely that we have been using guinea pigs for decades and they haven’t served as reliable models for human safety. We have “tested” and deemed “safe” tens of thousands of chemicals on animals only to find that the some results are not accurate. It’s time to use human-relevant non-animal testing practices as outlined by the National Academy of Sciences report, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy in 2007.”
The potential for TSCA reform is quite exciting, but it should be done in a way that doesn’t sacrifice millions of animals (for toxicity testing) in the name of better protection for human health and the environment. The revised bill needs to mandate and create market incentives to use nonanimal methods and tests.
I agree that we should use the latest science to assess chemicals. Instead of poisoning animals and attempting to apply that data to humans — which hasn’t worked out so far — we need to make sure a reformed TSCA relies on modern human cell and computer-based methods that provide more accurate data on how a chemical acts on cells and what the impact on human health may be.