Exposure to toxic chemicals can cause serious health problems and damage to the environment. Harmful chemicals in large amounts are used every day in manufacturing and are found in commonly used products such as cosmetics, toys, furniture, and clothing. Chemical exposure has been linked to cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, and reproductive damage.

ELM was a leader in the fight to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing that led to passage of the landmark Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) in 1989. TURA has been responsible for significant reductions in chemical use over the past two decades. ELM continues to work to defend and strengthen the law. In addition, as a member of an Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, ELM advocates for laws and policies that prevent harm to our health from toxic chemicals.

Current Legislative Priorities

Disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products

A first step towards making the transition to safer alternatives to toxic chemicals is to find out what is being used in the products that we come into contact with every day. This bill would create a list of “toxic chemicals in consumer products.” Manufacturers of children’s products, personal care products, cleaning products and certain other products sold in Massachusetts that contain those chemicals would be required to report that information to the state and then would be made available to the public.

Flame retardants (The Children and Firefighters Protection Act)

Toxic flame retardants are added to highchairs, car seats, nursing pads, furniture, carpet pads, electronic equipment (including toys), and many more household products. They are a risk to our health and don’t actually provide a fire safety benefit. Fortunately, there are ways to make furniture more fire safe and less toxic, and many companies are already doing so. This would phase out the use of certain harmful flame retardant chemicals in children’s products and residential furniture.

For more information, visit TURI: Toxics Use Reduction Institute