California issued new rules on Tuesday to regulate hazardous chemicals in consumer products. Under the Green Chemistry Initiative, a 2008 law, the state will require manufacturers to find safer alternatives to harmful toxins in baby bottles, laundry detergents, and other everyday products. We discuss how these rules will affect consumers and manufacturers alike.

Mike Wilson, environmental health scientist at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health
Maureen Gorsen, partner at Alston & Bird
Karl Palmer, chief of the Safer Products & Workplaces Program at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control

  • Magnus

    Speaking of hazards, how about a ban on the practice of putting very hazardous ammonia into the public water supply, which SFPUC began doing in 2004 and which they justify by saying the US EPA is requiring them to do it, which is most likely a lie. They know they can kill pathogens with UV rays because they’re doing that now, but they are still polluting the water with ammonia. When ammonia and chlorine are mixed they form chloramines, which break down PVC water pipes and slowly dissolve lead-based solder that is used to connect copper pipes. Another result of putting ammonia in drinking water is the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines and this is why you should never drink the public water in the Bay Area (other public water supplies are using ammonia too).

  • HeatherGC

    We just started a grey watering system in our house for our vegetable garden. I suggest people research the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website for acceptable cosmetic and household products. Many name brand products on the market contain carcinogens and neurotoxins. When in doubt, use what our grandparent’s called cleansers- vinegar, baking soda, olive oil and Castile soap.

    • Fay Nissenbaum

      Your grandparents called vinegar and olive oil “cleansers”?!? That doesn’t make sense.

      • Fred

        Vinegar can be used as a detergent for cleaning clothes.

      • HeatherGC

        It makes perfect sense Fay. Vinegar is a powerful cleanser and you can use olive oil to clean your wood floors and your face. In fact, my daughter’s pediatrician recommended olive oil to remove ear wax. And yes, my grandparents used vinegar and olive oil to clean their homes, as did many people from that era.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    It is telling that a former state regulator is now a lobbyist “hatchetman” — creepy.
    The controversy over flame retardants in our mattresses alone warrants a show. This is bad for us and especially bad for firefighters who breathe this stuff in whenever they enter a burning building with furniture; that’s why firefighters want these chemicals curtailed.

    “Currently, California furniture makers are required to use chemical flame retardants in their products. State law requires foam in couches to withstand an open flame for 12 seconds. Chemical flame retardants help our furniture pass that test, but once a fire sets in, they stop working. The rest of the country uses these same standards, because California is a huge market and they want to sell products here too. California Senator Leno is trying to change those standards.

    “The way it’s written now, manufacturers have virtually no alternative but to pour these very dangerous chemicals into their products, which means that consumers have no choice but to purchase products with these chemicals in them,” Leno said at a press conference in 2011.”

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    This show was poorly done. Sorry, Michael. It’s best to have the topic researched and not expect callers to do the job for you. It’s complicated and there are plenty of chemical experts that could have defanged that industry flack lobbyist.

  • Carl

    Prop 65 was passed in 1986.

    Now, 27 years later, legislation signed today, will establish a process
    to identify chemicals in consumer products, and evaluate them.

    I hope the ‘process’ they establish involves copying the prop 65 list.

    Is this all that has happen in 27 years?

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