A woman shops in the detergent section

Last week a coalition of leading physicians, scientists and health advocates called for tougher regulation of chemicals in common household items — including flame-retardant furniture and food wrapping. We’ll talk with experts about how these chemicals could impact your child’s development, and about how to reduce your family’s exposure. We’ll also discuss the sweeping new federal law on toxic chemicals, which Congress passed last month.

Related Links:

Guests:
Asa Bradman, co-founder, UC Berkeley's Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health
Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of Epidemiology and Environmental and Occupational Health, UC Davis; director, UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center
Sonya Lunder, senior analyst, Environmental Working Group
Alex Guillen, energy reporter, Politico

  • EIDALM

    From my chemistry education in college ,I always read the labels on all house cleaners ,soap ,shampoo ,etc ,often I find many extreme toxic chemicals are used in excess in many of these products ,my recommendation is to always use plain soap to wash ,and diluted solution of Chlorine to clean the bathrooms and kitchen ,and avoid all other products..

  • Marvin

    Why do we always hear the familiar rhetoric about XYZ being dangerous for children?
    Any savvy person knows that XYZ, whatever it is, is also dangerous to adults.
    By framing the discussion around children, everyone who does not have children or whose children are grown up will automatically tune out.
    And yet a 21-year-old may be as seriously affected as a 12-year old.

  • Robert Thomas

    The frightening world of hideous, boring chemistry that surrounds us has perpetrated countless “toxins” that insult our bodies and the bodies of our children… yet frustratingly, any epidemiologist will concur that coincident with the appearance of these compounds in our lives, our median healthy lifespan has steadily increased over the last century – rather than plummeted – during the period of this dastardly proliferation of hard-to-pronounce chemical agents.

    In fact, not even the peril of the evil ranunculuses (all buttercups and delphiniums etc.) that we invite willy-nilly into the very gardens where our tiny children innocently play – nor the myriad mysterious combustion products in the dense clouds of cannabis smoke we’ve hard-won the right to let grandma immerse herself – seem to have significantly impacted our allotted days.

    The Stoichiometry of Chemophobia:

    Public Broadcasting + Axe-Grinders + “Educated” Public – High School Chemistry

    ->

    Righteous Indignation + Air Time for “Experts” + Proliferating Hysteria

  • Jesse Hammer

    I’ve recently been seeing commercials from law firms claiming that Johnson’s baby powder has been linked to ovarian cancer. Can anyone speak to the truth of this claim?

    • Robert Thomas

      Talc in talcum powder is a mixture of silica and magnesium oxides that don’t participate in human metabolism. However, natural talc will also contain very small amounts of asbestos which is well understood to cause carcinogenic metabolic disruption in lung tissue due to the shape and the size of its crystals as they may mechanically (rather than chemically) interfere with cellular processes.

      The American Cancer Society provides a good précis discussion of the subject here:

      “Many studies in women have looked at the possible link between talcum powder and cancer of the ovary. Findings have been mixed, with some studies reporting a slightly increased risk and some reporting no increase. Many case-control studies have found a small increase in risk. But these types of studies can be biased because they often rely on a person’s memory of talc use many years earlier. Two prospective cohort studies, which would not have the same type of potential bias, have not found an increased risk.”

      “Talcum Powder and Cancer”
      http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/talcum-powder-and-cancer

      • Jesse Hammer

        Gosh, Thanks!

  • Ben Rawner

    I have read articles relating to plastics leaching into our foods and that almost all humans have unhealthy levels of pcb’s in their bodies. I was wondering what actions can we take to mitigate this effect. For instance I stopped microwaving anything in plastic containers. Are there more precautions we should take?

    • For storage I unwrap any food that comes in plastic and re-wrap in with wax paper, works great! According to some, plastic wrapped food is not terribly bad until you break the seal and let air in, then it begins to degrade. But the science seems controversial and not clear to me.

  • Efrat Noy

    Have vaccinations, and their toxicity overload (aluminum, thimerisol, preservatives, etc) been included in this study? The recommended vaccination schedule just seems to be growing for young children with a still developing brain.

    • Robert Thomas

      Vaccination schedules present no “toxicity overload”.

      • Efrat Noy

        Not true. Most childhood vaccinations contain 4x the allowed quantity of aluminum or other toxic heavy metals than the recommended quantity per the FDA guidelines. This is per vaccine and does not take into consideration multiple vaccinations given in the same visit.

  • Robert Thomas

    Here we go with the “leaching” language, that means nothing and is used clumsily (as here) and misleadingly.

  • Robert Thomas

    And now, GMO – phobia.

    This is a complete junk-fest

  • Robert Thomas

    Now, we’ve careened into “organic furniture”. Ouch! I guess that glass coffee tables are out, then.

  • Randy Cook

    Many of the environmental laws and regulations established in the early 70’s were created in response to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and a move toward regulating the toxic chemicals ubiquitously surrounding us. The EPA was charged with evaluating toxic chemicals (among other things) and almost from its beginning became defunded and diminished in its effectiveness. There is a large amount of evidence that industry groups have lobbied heavily to remove impartial testing labs from new chemical approval processes, such as might be required for a new pesticide, or any chemical product targeted to the marketplace. These govt. authorized labs were routinely replaced by relying on industry tests where much of the data is easily supressed. Whistleblowers and scientists at EPA expressing skepticism over these tests have also routinely been terminated or moved to jobs where they no longer have any scientific input.

    A book called Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, outlines how many of these chemicals mimic known reproductive hazards and endocrine disruptors, such as DDT and dioxin. A small change in the chemical structure can get a highly toxic substance approved by unscientific autocrats, and without objective scientific review of objective data, these chemicals wind up in consumer products and the environment where exposures occur.

    http://bloomsbury.com/us/poison-spring-9781608199143/#sthash.yrWBOqOP.dpuf

    To extend the discussion to developmental impacts on children and heath issues in adults requires not only skepticism but loud voices, because industry will fight these changes with powerful legal lobbies and lots of cash! Welcome to America, eh?

    As an aside, one has to wonder what kind of person it is who will knowingly and willfully push hard to get harmful chemicals into the marketplace that harm people and the environment, just to make a buck.

  • Sudha

    The toxins present in household products are not only capable of causing neurological conditions but they can also increase the symptoms of the existing conditions as you are continuously exposed to toxins at home through the toxic household products.

    Know the whole list of these chemicals and the products containing these chemicals @ http://www.fettlegenie.com/adhd/house-hold-products-adhd.shtml.

Host

Marisa Lagos

Marisa Lagos reports on state politics for KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk, which uses radio, television and online mediums to explore the latest news in California’s Capitol and dig deeper into political influence in the Golden State. Marisa also appears on a weekly podcast analyzing the week’s political news.

Before joining KQED, Marisa worked  at the San Francisco Examiner and Los Angeles Times, and, most recently, for nine years at the San Francisco Chronicle where she covered San Francisco City Hall and state politics, focusing on the California legislature, governor, budget and criminal justice. In 2011, she won a special award for extensive and excellent work in covering California justice issues from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and also helped lead the Chronicle's award-winning breaking news coverage of the 2010 San Bruno Pacific Gas & Electric explosion. She has also been awarded a number of fellowships from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Marisa has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She and lives in San Francisco with her two sons and husband. Email: mlagos@kqed.org Twitter @mlagos Facebook facebook.com/marisalagosnews

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor