Some Minnesota moms were among those who went to Washington D.C. this week to demand a new law to regulate the toxic chemicals that pervade all kinds of consumer products, from furniture to pillow cases. Called the Stroller Brigade, their determination was fueled by an impressive investigative series published this month by the Chicago Tribune called "Playing With Fire." It details purposeful deception and lax federal oversight all in the name of toxic chemicals that aren't effective.
Government scientists found that chairs containing flame retardants, like the one being tested above, burn just as fast as identical chairs without them. (Consumer Products Safety Commission / May 5, 2012)
"The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world. The toxic chemicals are present in nearly every home, packed into couches, chairs and many other products. Two powerful industries — Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers — waged deceptive campaigns that led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised."
The chemicals have been linked to neurological defects, cancer, developmental problems and impaired fertility.
Democratic members of Congress and consumer groups have been pushing to pass the Safe Chemicals Act, which would create a new process to monitor toxic chemicals used in consumer products. But at this point, the bill, which is opposed by the chemical industry, has no Republican sponsors.