Meet the Chemicals Want to know more about the toxic characters that have leached and off-gassed into every aspect of our lives? Check out our new video to glimpse their diabolical back-room scheming, then read our web pages to discover their tragic pasts and favorite hangouts, the little-known quirks that make them so special, and how to avoid them. Here are some highlights:

Meet BPA!

BPA BPA has enjoyed international popularity as a plastic additive for decades. But now, due to recent revelations of leaching and hormone disruption, BPA is flirting with outlaw status.

Fun fact: Scientists didn’t realize BPA could leach out of plastic and into our bodies until a series of lab accidents in the 1990s. Discover his frequent hangouts, why he’s dangerous, and how to avoid him.

Meet the Flame Retardants!

Flame Retardants The Flame Retardants family is full of contradiction and mystery. On the one hand, they slow fires. On the other hand, their presence in everyday items like couch cushions has been linked to cancer and learning problems.

Fun fact: In the 1970s, manufacturers added the flame retardant “chlorinated tris,” to children’s sleepwear. They stopped after a federal agency determined ‘tris’ to be a probable human carcinogen. And yet today, manufacturers continue to add toxic ‘tris’ to baby nursery items, strollers, and nursing pillows. Discover his frequent hangouts, why he’s dangerous, and how to avoid him.

Meet Formaldehyde!

Formaldehyde In recent years, formaldehyde has gained notoriety for his unexpected appearance in children’s bath products and involvement in the Katrina Trailer scandal.

Fun fact: Scientists link the high rates of respiratory illness among Hurricane Katrina victims to the unusually high levels of formaldehyde inside the trailers intended to protect these already vulnerable folks. Update! Gulf oil spill cleanup workers are now being housed in these very same trailers. Discover his frequent hangouts, why he’s dangerous, and how to avoid him.

Meet Lead!

Lead He’s a notorious neurotoxin from way back, causing brain damage since ancient times. Many believe it was the ancient Romans’ indiscriminate use of lead in food vessels, wine, and makeup that led to their downfall.

Fun fact: Lead loves to keep us guessing by popping up in inappropriate places. Just recently researchers discovered him lurking in children’s juice boxes. Discover his frequent hangouts, why he’s dangerous, and how to avoid him.

Meet the Phthalates!

Phthalates Phthalates don’t care about fame — they prefer to stay hidden on product labels with simple pseudonyms like “fragrance.” Phthalates may be publicity shy, but given the right setting, they can off-gas and volatize with the best of them.

Fun fact: Enjoy that new car smell? Thank phthalates! Because phthalates are not chemically bound to products, they easily migrate or off-gas, making them easy to inhale. Discover her frequent hangouts, why she’s dangerous, and how to avoid her.

Meet Perfluorooctanoic acid aka PFOA!

PFOA He’s a renegade magician, with a show-stopping “now you see it, now you don’t” trick. Although not present in non-stick pans themselves, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) can reappear as fumes when pans are overheated and the coating decomposes. Once he makes an appearance, it’s hard to get rid of the guy; in terms of persistence in the environment, PFOA sticks around for ages and never breaks down.

Fun fact: Keep your bird out of the kitchen! Birds and their weak respiratory systems are no match for PFOA’s toxic fumes. Birds have been documented dropping dead after being exposed to “off-gassing” from non-stick products. Discover his frequent hangouts, why he’s dangerous, and how to avoid him.

Meet Trichloroethylene aka TCE!

TCE Don’t be fooled by Trichloroethylene’s (TCE) sweet odor and taste — she’s a heavy-duty industrial solvent who can cut through grease, wax, gunk, and even silicones. After strenuous degreasing sessions, TCE likes to settle down in lake and river sediment, contaminating the drinking water.

Fun fact: TCE had a brief stint in the coffee business – turns out she was great at extracting caffeine from coffee beans. But TCE lost her barista position after scientists uncovered her true identity as a carcinogen. Discover her frequent hangouts, why she’s dangerous, and how to avoid her.