LESS THAN 20% OF THE 80,000 CHEMICALS IN COMMON USE ARE TESTED FOR SAFETYOf the more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals in common use today, fewer than 20% have been tested for safety. Each year, it’s estimated that 700 new chemicals are introduced into the U.S. market yet chemical companies are not required to test most for their toxicity to humans. Even when testing is done, each chemical is analyzed individually rather than in the combinations that we are actually exposed to each day of our lives.TRADE SECRET OR TOXIC SECRET?Despite the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act designed to alert Americans of the chemicals we are exposed to, the chemical industry has been allowed to stamp a “trade secret” claim on the identity of two-thirds of all chemicals introduced to the market. It is estimated that there are at least 880 variations of chemical compounds used in personal care products, cosmetics, and perfumes alone. As a result, scientists estimate that everyone carries at least 700 contaminants within their body.Thousands of studies have demonstrated that chemical exposure can cause and contribute to some of our nation’s most serious health problems. For example, leukemia, brain cancer, and other childhood cancers, have increased by more than 20% since 1975. A woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is now one in eight. Asthma doubled in prevalence within 15 years. Approximately 2 million women each year have difficulty conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. Autism has increased more than 10 times in the last 10 years. We would be remiss to believe a correlation doesn’t exist.CHEMICALS ACCUMULATE IN YOUR BODY BEFORE BIRTH!It’s important to note that our exposure to chemicals begins before we are born and slowly accumulates throughout our lifetime. Research shows that children exposed to chemicals found in cosmetics and fragrances while still in the womb are more likely to develop behavioral and attention problems. In a study of teen girls between 14 and 19, The Environmental Working Group detected 16 chemicals from 4 chemical families (phthalates, triclosan, parabens and musks) in blood and urine samples. What then, can we expect with continued exposure and the passing of time?Most people assume that approved chemicals and the products they are found in are safe. After all, they have been using them for years without noticeable changes in their health. “Noticeable” is the key word. With no ability to metabolize synthetic chemicals, they slowly build up in body’s tissues, eventually overwhelming the immune system. Repeated exposure to toxic chemicals can manifest with headaches, depression, insomnia, breathing problems, joint pain, allergies, and eventually, degenerative diseases including cancer.MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY (MCS) AFFECTS OVER 48 MILLION PEOPLEMany others are keenly aware of the impact chemicals have on their daily lives. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity defines the symptoms experienced after a person has been exposed to any of a wide range of chemicals and affects over 48 million men, women, and children. Sensitivity to even low levels of chemical exposure, such as personal care or other consumer products has made MCS increasingly prevalent with symptoms ranging from minor annoyances to life-threatening reactions.Although the cause of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity has yet to be determined, evidence reveals that it can occur at any time, and suggests that acute or chronic exposure to even trace amounts of chemicals accumulated in the body can cause an intolerance and reaction to chemicals that didn’t previously pose a problem. While some are quick to debunk MCS as simply allergies, and many medical doctors fail to diagnose it, those with the disorder are undeniably sick and experience job loss, hospitalization and life-long chronic illnesses as a result.WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY?* Headache* Fatigue* Dizziness* Nausea* Irritability* Confusion, difficulty concentrating and memory problems* Intolerance to heat or cold* Stuffy head or congestion* Breathing problems* Changes in heart rhythm* Chest pain* Muscle pain and/or stiffness* Bloating or gas* Diarrhea* Skin rash, itching and/or hives* Mood changesWHAT CAN YOU DO TO LOWER YOUR RISK?It’s virtually impossible to avoid exposure to chemicals in our industrialized world. However, there are effective ways to lower your risk for chemical sensitivity. Each time you make even the smallest chemical free healthy choice, you are taking a step toward a healthier, happier, more vibrant life.* Use chemical free personal care products.* Reduce your exposure to chlorine in your water with a Chlorine Filter Shower Head.* Use wheat (gluten) products sparingly.* Avoid genetically modified foods. (Soy products, corn, canola oil, chicory, radicchio, papaya, potatoes, squash, tomatoes.) Choose organic instead.* Use chlorine-free products and unbleached paper products whenever possible.* Choose chemical free laundry soap and household cleaning products.* Avoid pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.* Reduce the use of plastics whenever possible.* Buy food grown locally and in season, organic if possible.* Buy hormone free meats and dairy products to avoid pesticides.* Minimize your exposure to nail polish and nail polish removers.* Use naturally based fragrances, such as essential oils.* Be aware of noxious fumes from paint, gas, etc.
Exposure to chemical and hazardous substances and materials has been acknowledged as a major risk to workers health and safety. In New Zealand, the control of hazardous chemical substances in the workplace is audited by the New Zealand Chemical Industry Council, who provides guidelines on the safe handling, transport and storage of chemicals. Chemical safety in the workplace continues to receive the attention of media and representatives of Health and Safety in the workplace due to the potential accidents and injuries, and possible deaths, which may arise from the improper use of chemicals in the workplace. However, these risks can be marginalised through the employment of suitable tools and equipment, such as chemical resistant drum pumps, to handle chemicals, along with staff training in the proper use of such equipment.According to the New Zealand Chemical Industry Council, notwithstanding the substantial improvements in health and safety, many individuals are still injured within the workplace environment. The financial and social cost of these injuries is profound, adding up an estimated $16 billion per year, equivalent to ten percent of the national GDP.In an effort to reduce the growing pressures that workplace injuries place on the economy, the chemical industry has implemented a performance accreditation programme to ensure that chemicals are handled safely. The Council actively works with various regulatory organisations in an effort to ensure that the industry is well equipped with the necessary tools and information to ensure chemical safety becomes a daily reality. ACC have commented that there are obvious links between safety and productivity, insisting that those companies that take safety seriously experience greater levels of profit and staff morale.Concerns regarding chemical safety in the workplace have provided the impetus for the development of a chemicals guide, produced by the Environmental Risk Management Authority. The guide provides businesses a simple step-by-step procedure to handling chemicals safely in the workplace. One of the key measures advocated in the guideline promotes the correct isolations and storage of chemicals, as well as employing the correct equipment when accessing and utilising chemicals.When the chemicals are stored in tanks, chemical resistant drum pumps are the vehicle by which the chemicals are accessed from their storage containers. However, not all drum pumps are constructed of materials that are capable of handling the corrosive nature of such chemicals. When searching for chemical resistant equipment, ensure that the product is made of robust polypropylene and polyethylene plastics which have excellent resistance to a wide range of chemicals, including caustic and chlorine based chemicals, acids and alkalines.