Tracy Gregoire is the mother of an autistic child. She also works to prevent learning disabilities and other health impacts linked to toxic chemicals found in consumer products and building materials. As you might imagine, Tracy’s insight and personal experiences have made her very passionate about protecting children, and this passion has led her to organize parents to visit retail stores and even company headquarters to urge them to remove harmful chemicals from their products.
Tracy is right. People should not be exposed to hazardous chemicals linked to asthma, infertility, autism, and cancer in products like toys, furniture, and cosmetics. At Coming Clean, we agree, and we’re working to bring communities and organizations together to win government and corporate policies that take toxic chemicals out of products and materials. We want to help companies avoid chemical substitutes that might be as bad or even worse than what they are replacing, and ensure that product manufacturers and retailers tell us what chemical ingredients are in the products they sell.
“As a proud mom of a child with autism, I know firsthand that the last thing a parent with a special needs child wants is something else that will impact their neurological or general health. It is not enough for companies to say they meet state and federal laws. Parents expect more. There is no need to use many of these toxic chemicals because there are safe, affordable alternatives.”
Our national chemical safety laws are failing to protect us, and states aren’t doing nearly enough to fill the gap. So, fifteen years ago, Coming Clean began to mobilize partner organizations and experts to develop strategies using consumer pressure to convince manufacturing and retail companies to phase out some of the worst chemicals. Our collaborative research and organizing have drawn attention to toxic chemicals in products, won new rules that ban some chemicals, and pressured manufacturing and retail companies to go beyond simple compliance with the law to truly protect their customers. We developed the Five Essential Practices to guide retailers, brands, and suppliers toward safer chemicals and avoid regrettable toxic chemical substitutions. Our Campaign for Healthier Solutions is leading the charge toward nontoxic dollar stores—an important effort to protect communities of color and the poor, which disproportionately rely on dollar stores for food and products. Together, we can realize a safer, less toxic, and more just world.
For more information on environmental health and justice market campaigns see our Safe Markets website at SafeMarkets.org.
As part of our research on chemical substitutes, Coming Clean conducted collaborative research on the potential hazards of nanomaterials, which are increasingly used as substitutes for other toxic chemicals in products. This is the first time an off-the-shelf chemical hazard assessment tool—the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals—was applied to a nanomaterial. Here are resources on our nanosilver hazard assessments using the GreenScreen method: