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Health leaders and film makers stand together against controversial chemical bill

March 26, Washington, DC — The filmmaker’s of HBO’s Toxic Hot Seat along with health leaders across the country are cautioning citizens against falling for the current toxics bill being positioned as progress. Instead, they say the proposed “Chemicals in Commerce Act,” which would ‘reform’ the Toxic Substances Control Act, would make it harder for state and federal authorities to protect the public from dangerous toxic chemicals. The groups say it’s time to “Give Toxics The Boot” and are launching a campaign aimed at educating the public on how toxic chemicals affect public health and fire fighters.

The new bill is not getting the support of hundreds of advocacy organizations in the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.

The new house bill would:

    • Prevent the ability of states to regulate certain chemicals,
    • Fail to protect the most disadvantaged communities and highly exposed individuals,
    • Put up new roadblocks to prevent federal authorities from reviewing and regulating potentially dangerous chemicals.

Brave fire fighters have demonstrated that toxic chemicals are shortening their lives. Neither bill before Congress would address those real world impacts. Congress owes it to our first responders and the rest of us to put meaningful chemical reform on the table,” Andy Igrejas, Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

More than twenty events are being organized around the country, many occurring simultaneously today, to highlight the affect of toxic chemicals on the nation’s most vulnerable. The events were paired with local screenings of the HBO documentary Toxic Hot Seat.

As parents, filmmakers and citizens, once we realized the staggering implications of toxic chemicals in flame retardants and the lengths to which the chemical industry would go to preserve their hold on such a lucrative business channel, we simply couldn’t stay quiet about this issue. 85% of us sit on couches filled with poison that does not stop fires,” according to Kirby Walker speaking on behalf of herself and James Redford, Co-Director and Co-Producer on the film. For details on local screening information visit the website.

Decades worth of scientific research shows toxic chemicals, like flame retardants, are linked to health problems including cancer, hormone-disruption and harm to the developing brain. Scientific studies have shown that fire fighters have an increased cancer risk compared to the normal population due to onsite exposures to toxic chemicals and gasses.

Recent studies show that firefighters are contracting various forms of cancer at rates higher than the general population. And in order to prevent cancer we have to look at the root of the problem and that is exposures to toxic unregulated chemicals. It is time for this country to open its eyes real wide and demand chemical reform to protect all of us!” Tony Stefani, retired captain and fire fighter, President of San Francisco Fire Fighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.

The campaign’s goal is to communicate to elected officials that chemicals should be proven safe before ending up in our homes and building materials, to protect the health of American families and first responders. Currently, state policies on toxic flame retardants are making progress in legislatures across the country, while Congress is working towards comprehensive toxic chemical reform.

Participating states: AK, CA, DC, FL, ME, MA, MI, MN, NY, NC, OH, PA, UT, VT, WA