When I was a kid, my brother had guinea pigs. Fat little guys with stubby little legs that he desperately tried to train to do entertaining things like play soccer with a super ball and sniff out money (he was a little Alex P. Keaton-ish). In my innocent upbringing I would never have imagined conducting tests on our little friends.
But, alas, most toxicological testing relies on our mammalian relatives like my brother’s guinea pigs. Using the little guys gives us some assurance about the safety of chemicals we surround ourselves with every day.
Yet, as we’ve watched with Bisphenol-A in bottles and formaldehyde in baby cribs and a host of other examples, studies are not providing an assurance of safety. And, if safety is not being demonstrated in the lab, but the chemicals are still allowed to be used in everyday products, that means WE have become the guinea pigs.
“Chemicals are everywhere around us, and many are simply not safe,” said Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “Children’s toys, kitchen products, cosmetics, fast food containers – countless items that we use on a daily basis are made with chemicals that science is linking to the rising rates of childhood cancers, infertility, learning disabilities and more. It’s time Congress acts to stop these unregulated exposures to protect the health of Americans for generations to come.”
For the first time in over 30 years, revisions to TSCA are being debated by Congress. Widely regarded as one of the weakest of all major U.S. environmental laws, TSCA was supposed to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to identify and regulate dangerous chemicals. However, the law is so weak that the EPA was unable to use it even to ban asbestos, a known and deadly human carcinogen that is barred in more than 50 countries.
“Chemicals should meet a standard of safety for all people, and especially vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women, said Andy Igrejas, National Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “That can only happen when Congress hears from fed-up Americans tired of being treated like Guinea pigs.”
Tired of being a Guinea Pig? Join the campaign! The “Not a Guinea Pig” campaign initial launch site provides information and resources tailored to:
- Teens and Toxic Chemicals in Products
- Kids & Chemicals: Developing Brains At Risk
- Health Professionals and Chemical Exposures
To help spread the word on the campaign, follow them on Facebook, join the conversation on Twitter around the #NAGP hashtag and sign up for the blog. The campaign website also includes videos highlighting the prevalence of toxic chemical exposures and what we can do to prevent them.
I am not a guinea pig – and I definitely don’t want my daughters to be. How about you? Ever feel like the unwilling test subject in an out of control experiment?