sponsors website trying to calm worried parents
By Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director
It’s really pretty gross. And transparent.
A new website was launched called “Kids + Chemical Safety,” hosted
by a non-profit organization, yet sponsored by the largest coalition of
chemical manufacturers in the country. Their stated goal? To provide "balanced information" for parents and consumers.
The website is adorned with pictures of children playing,
drinking from baby bottles, having a good ole time with their toys. And yet the
information is dangerously misleading.
Some of the information on this new website is innocuous,
useful information for parents, like poison control numbers and choking hazards.
But despite this cynical attempt to give their website credibility, the content
about chemicals is both misleading and wrong.
Here’s some of what
they say and why it’s wrong:
- Don’t worry about
arsenic in your apple juice! The website uses arsenic in apple juice as an
example of why we don’t need to worry about low-level contaminants in food and
products. Many of us learned “the dose makes the poison” back in high
school chemistry class, but the old adage no longer adds up. We now know from
the world’s best scientists that many times very low doses of chemicals can
cause harm. Take toxic flame retardants for example — since they are
persistent and build up in the food chain, a small exposure builds up over
time. Some chemicals like hormone-disrupting chemicals cause more harm at lower doses.
- Dismissing toxic chemical
links to asthma. They describe the many things that are linked to asthma in
our homes, but are quick to dismiss the links between toxic chemicals and
asthma, trying to discredit scientific studies
showing links between asthma symptoms and chemicals. They go on to note that
regular cleaning (with toxic chemical laden products?) can help decrease dust
and reduce asthma symptoms. C’mon! Our Chemicals and Health Report outlines
how many household cleaners are linked to asthma.
How is omitting important information about chemicals and asthma “balanced and
peer-reviewed science and then ignoring it. Under the subheading “Sorting
through conflicting information,” the website tells you not to believe science
that hasn’t been through the peer-reviewed process and yet it clearly ignores the large body of peer-reviewed science showing links between chemicals and
health trends. We agree that peer-reviewed papers should be used as the
gold standard for finding trusted science and information, but then we must
listen and respond to the large body of science showing links between
toxic chemicals and childhood cancer, harming the developing brain and
We’ve seen this over and over. It was just a few years ago
that a similar website from the “Coalition
for Chemical Safety” popped up looking just
like ours! The public health community was so successful in discrediting this
front group, they eventually took down the website, and got busy building this new
The chemical industry coalition I mentioned, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), is listed as one of the supporters of the website. How much do they care about protecting your family's health? They have been fighting the Safe Chemicals Act every step of the way through Congress.
Don’t be duped. The chemical industry does not have your
children’s health foremost in their mind and apparently this non-profit
doesn’t either. At Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, we work
with the best scientists and physicians to provide you with good science and steps to
take action and protect your family.
Please take action and send an email to your Senators
letting them know that you’re not falling for the latest PR stunt by the
chemical industry, and neither should they.
Follow Lindsay on Twitter: @Lindsay_SCHF
For more information on what is misleading about this website, check out Richard Denison’s blog “Chemicals R Us: New ACC sponsored website says chemicals are safe and fun for kids!”