On a daily basis, Americans are exposed to many of the 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States—few of which are adequately tested for their effects on health.
Many potentially harmful chemicals can be found in commercial products such as cosmetics, personal-care products, cleaning products, and children’s products. Some are known toxins that have an established correlation with diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as health disorders like endocrine system disruptions, infertility, obesity, and learning and developmental disabilities. The use of toxic chemicals in household products is largely unaccounted for or unmonitored. Although there have been cases in which a ban was put in place, many of these efforts were long overdue and piecemeal. Federal laws meant to restrict toxic chemicals are inadequate. There have been recent rollbacks of existing regulatory policies, coupled with concerns over the new leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2017, NYHealth awarded Clean and Healthy New York (CHNY) a grant to conduct a public education campaign about the importance of expanding toxic chemical disclosure requirements, and to create a plan with options for more comprehensive actions to protect New Yorkers from the harmful chemicals in consumer goods.
Under this grant, CHNY designed a public education initiative to raise awareness of and support for toxic chemical disclosure requirements for consumer products. Using Governor Cuomo’s Household Cleaning Product Information Disclosure Program as a starting point, CHNY assessed the New York State policy landscape, including other related current laws, executive orders, and regulations used to identify and restrict toxic chemicals. CHNY partnered with corporations, New York State-based businesses, and nonprofit organizations with policies addressing toxic chemicals to serve as active participants in the public education initiative. Along with this coalition of partners, CHNY conducted public education briefing meetings with allies at the State and select policymakers who were not yet supportive of proposals to expand toxic chemical disclosures for consumer products. In the second phase of this initiative, CHNY developed a blueprint with options on how New York State can build upon its current efforts to expand standards for more comprehensive disclosure requirements of harmful chemicals in consumer goods and advance stronger regulatory policies for toxic chemical use in New York State.
Get a printable fact sheet on potentially toxic chemicals that are commonly found in everyday products.