Friday, April 2, 2010

Environmental Toxins - Time Magazine investigates the chemicals found in everyday products

The ingenuity of the chemical industry has created tens of thousands of new chemicals over the last century, which are now used in vast quantities in many everyday products. Unlike medicines and pesticides, governments have generally required no testing of these chemicals to show that they are safe.
While many synthetic chemicals are undoubtedly harmless, others, especially those mimicking natural hormones known as "endocrine disruptors" such as phthalates, are increasing being linked with disease and developmental abnormalities.
Time magazine has investigated this area with a series of stories on Environmental Toxins, including The Perils of Plastic (which amongst other things documents the growing scientific concerns about the safety of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates), Pharma in the Plumbing and The Top 10 Household Toxins.

Recommended reading

Please note that as this is a Time Magazine story the "governments" referred to are successive US governments. Other parts of the world such as Europe and, judging from Erica's comment below, Australia have much stricter regimes. Even so chemicals such as phthalates and BPA are still found in Australian products.

1 comment:

  1. The comment that governments have generally required no testing of these chemicals to show that they are safe, is very misleading.

    Each chemical when manufactured and includes those in use now, have to show the health effects on humans and the environment.

    All information on any substance can be found by searching for the Material Safety Data Sheet, or MSDS.

    The MSDS must show exposure limits, through inhalation, skin contact and ingestion.

    FYI. If you wish to find out if chemicals bought through a hardware or supermarket could be hazardous then ask for the MSDS at the checkout. They are legally obliged to give you one for free. I suggest that if you also want to make an alternative check the best website on the internet is here:

    We have some of the most stringent rules for the use of chemicals in the world. This also includes importation from other countries.

    For those of you concerned about your chemical exposure at work, I suggets you contact your Safety Officer, they will be able to direct you to the safety requirements.

    For those of you using chemicals at home, I suggest that you start a search for the MSDS and check how to use the substance safely.