Martha Dina Arguello, 310-261-0073, [email protected]
Pam Palitz, 925-698-0293, [email protected]
Wednesday, March 3rd, 11 am, Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – Just in time for the Oscars, the environmental group Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy is holding its own red-carpet event on Wednesday March 3 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. This tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony for “Bad Actor” chemicals, “The Toxies,” is an entertaining event with actors in character as various chemicals. The actor portraying “Lead,” for example, will be getting a “Lifetime Achievement in Harm” award. Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a synthetic sex hormone leaching from baby bottles and in canned food, is getting “Worst Breakthrough Performance.”
At no time in human history have we been exposed to so many chemicals.
There are an estimated 85,000 chemicals in use, and very little is known about most of them. Some observers believe that the health effects of almost half the major industrial chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, reproductive impacts and other health problems are costing our nation upwards of $5 billion a year in health care costs. Thousands of workers and children are affected each year by exposure to toxic chemicals and it costs the state an estimated $2.6 billion in medical expenses and lost wages.
Chemical exposures hurt the health and economy of California. By effectively implementing Green Chemistry legislation passed in 2008, the Governor and CA Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) have the opportunity to improve health, the environment, and create a sustainable economy
“We don’t get a ‘second take’ for our health. I have been biomonitored for chemicals in my body and discovered an alphabet soup of unwelcome industrial chemicals. Our bodies are becoming toxic dumps grounds,” says Dr. Sandra Aronberg, Environmental Health Ambassador with Physicians for Social Responsibility – LA.
“The Toxies awards ceremony and accompanying report on chemicals will highlight only a fraction of Bad Actor chemicals. “We need a regulatory structure that can fast-track these high hazard chemicals such as BPA and phthalates,” says Davis Baltz of Commonweal. CHANGE asserts that an effective Green Chemistry program must prioritize chemicals based on hazard and exposure, and should protect women of child bearing age, children, workers, and other vulnerable populations. Hazard information and ingredient information of products should be shared publicly to ensure accountability, and the manufacturers of chemicals of concern should adequately fund the program.
The Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) originated from two pieces of
legislation, AB 1879 (Feuer) and SB 509 (Simitian) which passed in 2008 and gives the state the authority to create a comprehensive list of chemicals used and sold in California, and seeks to replace the dangerous chemicals with safe and sustainable alternatives.
“A robust Green Chemistry program is essential if we are to ensure the products Californians use every day don’t contain toxics that can lead to cancer and other insidious diseases. We need a strong set of regulations to make this ambition a reality,” says Assemblymember Mike Feuer, principal author of AB 1879.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of uncertainty about whether or not the Green Chemistry Initiative will be the robust program envisioned by the legislators who voted for it. DTSC is expected to release final draft regulations soon after The Toxies awards ceremony and accompanying report. “These Bad Actor chemicals have deadly serious health impacts on all Californians. Consumers, workers, scientists, and health professionals are all calling for a Green Chemistry program that delivers on its promise,” said Pam Palitz of Environment California.
“The California Green Chemistry Initiative means nothing if the chemical industry influences our government to prevent meaningful implementation. Will the Governor stand up to the chemical industry and protect the health of Californians? Or will it be yet another bad performance by this administration?” said Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility- LA.
There is widespread agreement among public health and environmental organizations and green business leaders that effective regulations should require chemical manufacturers to prove that a chemical is safe before allowing it on the market. Furthermore, regulatory agencies need to have the authority to restrict or ban the manufacture and use of chemicals that pose potential dangers to human health or the environment. We also need a program that ensures the public’s right to know about chemicals currently on the market. More information about chemicals will drive innovations as demand for better chemical actors and safer alternatives increases.
Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE) is a state-wide coalition working to create a better system for regulating toxic chemicals in California. CHANGE also believes all public voices, especially those of low-income and communities of color, are vital to the process of determining how chemicals should be regulated in California.
Available for Interviews
Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) at UCSF’s National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. [email protected]. (415) 624-9959.
Senator Fran Pavley, representing California’s 23rd Senate District. Author of California’s landmark legislation on climate change, AB 32, and sponsor of SB 797, The Toxics Free Toddlers and Babies Act, to eliminate the sex hormone BPA in children’s products. (916) 651-4023.
Sandra Aronberg, MD, MPH, PSR-LA Environmental Health Ambassador, participant in National biomonitoring study of health care professionals. [email protected]. (310) 277-9876.
Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. [email protected], (310) 261-0073.
Ansje Miller. Coordinator, Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), and Policy Director at the Center for Environmental Health. [email protected]. (510) 379-8449.
Pam Palitz, JD, Toxics Advocate and Staff Attorney, Environment California. [email protected]. (925) 698-0293.
Davis Baltz, MS, Precautionary Principle Program Director, Commonweal, Bolinas CA. [email protected]. (510) 684-7594.
Melissa Walthers, MPH, Policy Coordinator, Breast Cancer Fund.[email protected] (510) 289-5552.
 “Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California,” 2008. University of California Berkeley.