Connecticut continued to lead the nation with precedent setting policies that reduce exposure to toxic chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) in thermal receipt paper but we faced intense pressure to roll back our ban of BPA in infant formula containers just as the law was to go into effect!
CSHC mobilized our members, the environmental community and health professionals to press for passing the first-in-the-nation ban of BPA in thermal receipt paper and successfully fend off rollbacks. Connecticut lawmakers got the message – we want to protect public health and the health of the environment.
On December 7th, we took time out to celebrate at our Annual Meeting. Each year, we gather to reflect on our work, celebrate our many champions and network with great speakers. This year was no exception. Ann Rabe and Mike Schade, from the Center for Environment, Health and Justice in New York, presented on the great work they’ve done on green procurement. It was an inspiring presentation! We were also pleased to give out 6 awards to people who have made a huge impact in our work this year. The awardees are:
Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to our awardees for all your support and contributions to our work this year!
Two years ago, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to ban the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from infant formula and baby food cans and jars, as well as a wide range of reusable food and beverage containers. It becomes law this Saturday, October 1st.
On Friday, September 30th, State Senators Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) , who championed the bill in 2009 along with many of her legislative colleagues including Senator Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), state Representative Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) and state Representative Richard Roy (D-Milford) will hold a press conference to celebrate the new law taking effect and discuss the importance of continuing the dialogue of comprehensive chemical policy reform.
Joining the lawmakers will be the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut – the driving force behind efforts on the state and federal level to eliminate dangerous chemicals from everyday products. A growing number of its members are concerned parents, particularly mothers, who want to protect their children from the many illnesses, such as cancers, reproductive disorders and learning and behavioral disorders that are linked to dangerous chemicals – like BPA.
On August 10, 2011 CSHC members, legislators, Moms and kids gathered to voice their support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. We urged out U.S. Senators to be super heroes by supporting this legislation which will reform the laws on regulation of chemicals of concern in consumer goods.
Senator Richard Blumenthal stepped up and signed on as a co-sponsor of SCA! OUR HERO!!!
State legislators who attended include our Representatives Richard Roy and Kevin Roldan.
Watch the video of Senator Richard Blumenthal, Representative Richard Roy and Anne Hulick, CSHC Coordinator and speaking at the rally.
Beka Apostolidis is a resident of Cromwell, Connecticut who was diagnosed with breast cancer over three years ago. She’s also been a nurse for 15 years, and teaches nursing students in the oncology unit at Hartford Hospital. “I have a family history of cancer, on a personal level it has affected me,” says Apostolidis. Her father died from leukemia, and her mother is a breast cancer survivor.
In her job, Apostolidis sees firsthand the effects of cancer on society. As the age of patients with cancer gets younger and younger, Apostolidis often finds herself thinking about the links between environment and cancer. Her father was diagnosed with leukemia, and before that, she says “I didn’t really understand the link. Then I began to learn about pesticides and BPA and their connections to cancer.”
In February, she spoke in front of the Connecticut General Assembly in support of a proposed bill which would remove BPA from register receipts in the state. “In nursing, we are taught to use the precautionary principle when there is risk of harm,” she said. “I applaud Connecticut lawmakers for their leadership on the issue but we must do more.”
Connecticut is a leader when it comes to regulation of toxic chemicals. They’ve passed the most comprehensive bill protecting their children from BPA and last year, they passed a law which sets up a Chemical Innovations Institute – a University of Connecticut institution which will promote safer chemical practices for Connecticut businesses, workers and the community.
Connecticut’s proposed register receipts law would be the first in the nation if it passes. The BPA that is found in thermal register receipts is of special concern because receipts are so ubiquitous, and because the BPA that is found on the receipts easily transfers to skin and other surfaces. As of this publication, Senate Bill 210 banning BPA from receipts has passed through committee and is on its way to a full Senate vote.
Last year, legislators passed a ban on the use of cadmium in jewelry intended for children. Cadmium is a toxic metal that is sometimes used on inexpensive children’s jewelry that has been tied to many health effects including cancer.
With just the laws mentioned here, Connecticut has managed to make the state safer than the federal government has. While Congress is still unable to take action against harmful, chemicals suspected of causing cancer like BPA and cadmium, the leadership in Connecticut has taken matters into their own hands and gotten rid of the chemicals in children’s products. -from SaferStates.com
The Chemical Innovations Institute has been established by law! In June, Governor Rell signed Public Act 10-164, and now Connecticut has joined Massachusetts and New York to become the third state with an institute devoted to reducing toxic chemicals and promoting safer solutions. By partnering with our neighboring states, Connecticut now has an opportunity to build upon and distribute the information that others have gathered. The new Chemical innovations Institute will be housed at the UConn Health Center and overseen by board members who will be appointed by elected officials by August 15th.
A bill to establish health-protective limits on the toxic metal cadmium in children’s jewelry has also become law. Read more about this nationally significant new policy here.
On November 12th, the Coalition recognized two State Senators and two State Representatives as 2009 Legislative Champions. The following legislators strongly supported both the Bisphenol-A phase-out for food and beverage containers and the green cleaning requirement for schools. Without their perseverance and sincere passion for making our state a healthier place, these bills would not have become law.
The Coalition also recognized the invaluable contributions of two Coalition member groups:
We also honored six leading volunteers from a diverse set of constituencies in the Coalition. These individuals strongly supported the Coalition’s education, outreach, advocacy, and media campaigns this past year.
HB 6572 - Phasing out BPA from Food Products and Children’s Products
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a high production volume chemical used to make epoxy resins that coat the inside of food cans, and polycarbonate plastic products, including some kinds of baby bottles and food storage and heating containers. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to a number of health impacts at low doses, including insulin resistance, gene changes, metabolic syndrome, altered brain development and sexual behavior, and prostate cancer. Safer solutions exist, and many companies have pledged to stop using BPA in the products they manufacture and sell. Canada recently announced plans to ban BPA in baby bottles. Click here to learn which legislators co-sponsored this bill.
–signed by Gov. Rell June 3, 2009!
HB 6496 – Green Cleaning in Schools–
In 2007, Connecticut passed Public Act 100, requiring all state-owned buildings to use certified green cleaning products, and now the Coalition has successfully supported legislation that extends this requirement to include all public schools in the state!
Click here to learn which legislators co-sponsored this bill. signed by Gov. Rell June 2, 2009!
PBDE Phase Out
PBDEs are chemical flame retardants found in everyday items like furniture, televisions, and computers. These chemicals have been associated with health and developmental effects including impaired memory, learning disorders, and behavior changes. Safer alternatives can be used, and Maine, Washington, Vermont, and Oregon have all passed laws to phase out deca PBDE from a variety of consumer products in which it is will used. Click here to learn which legislators co-sponsored this legislation in 2009. –Died in the Public Safety & Security Committee in 2009
H.B. No. 5650 -An Act Concerning Safe Child Product Safety: Phases out lead and asbestos from children’s products and requires our state agencies to develop a list of hazardous substances in children’s products and safer alteratives. The bill also enables Connecticut to be part of a multi-state clearinghouse on toxic chemicals. Lead sponsor: House Speaker James Amann —PASSED!
H.B. 5601– An Act Banning Children’s Products Containing Lead, Phthalates, and Bisphenol A: Phases out lead, phthalates, and bisphenol A from products. Lead Sponsor: Environment Committee Co-Chair, Representative Richard Roy (D, Milford). View the full list of co-sponsors at the end of this page —DID NOT PASS
H.B. 5805- An Act Concerning Toxic Substances: Phases out toxic brominated flame retardants (PBDEs) from consumer products, and bans alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs). —DID NOT PASS
H.B. 5145- An Act Concerning Environmental Justice Communities and the Storage of Asbestos-Containing Materials: Recognizes distressed municipalities and low-income neighborhoods and environmental justice communities, and requires enhanced public outreach and ability to negotiate for environmental benefits to offset some of the proposed environmental hazards. Lead sponsors: The CT Coalition for Environmental Justice and Representative Hennessey (D, Bridgeport) lead the campaign, with dozens of legislators co-sponsoring the bill. —PASSED!
The Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut is a leading member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer rights groups. The Campaign’s goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to replace chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems with safer alternatives. We know that this is do-able: The new European Union standards prohibit the use of known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins in cosmetics.
We are asking personal care product companies to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics , a pledge to remove toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives in every market they serve. The good news: so far, over 600 companies have signed this voluntary commitment to modern safety standards. These innovators, including some of the largest companies in the natural products market, are making safer products today and striving to make even safer products in the future. These Connecticut companies have signed on to the compact:
The bad news: none of the cosmetic industry giants have taken this step, and – even worse – many of these companies are actively opposing proposed policies at the state and national level to upgrade safety standards in this country.
Bottom line: we need YOUR help to convince Avon, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Revlon and other personal care companies to sign the Compact.
Please join us in our efforts to give the cosmetics industry a makeover! For more information and to take action, visit: http://www.safecosmetics.org