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Fool me once, shame on you

Kids Chemical Safety - question markChemical industry
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
    scientifically accurate?”
  • Defending
    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
    early puberty.

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.

action today

Follow Lindsay on Twitter: @Lindsay_SCHF

Related Posts: 

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!”