A report released by the Washington Toxics and Safer States Coalition (WTC) indicates that thousands of childrens products including baby food, cosmetics and care products, toys and clothing contain numerous dangerous chemicals, according to AlterNet. Washington state law requires a product content report indicating the chemicals present, their effects, the products that contain them and the companies selling the products to ensure consumer protection and safety.
The report distributed to the Washington State Department of Ecology identified 41 chemicals linked to cancer and hormonal disruption, according to a Washington Toxics and Safer States Coalition press release. Some of the most dangerous chemicals are bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical found in food packaging; cadmium and lead which are linked to brain underdevelopment and; formaldehyde, primarily found in kid’s shampoos and textiles. These are also some of the most prominent chemicals found and raise the highest amount of concern because of their extremely hazardous effects.
Mega-corporations are the main culprits, distributing products with dangerous chemicals. Among these companies are Wal-Mart, H&M, Gap and Target; the most notorious of this sample-list being Wal-Mart. A deeper look into the report indicates that in the last year, Wal-Mart is the largest distributor of arsenic-laden products, nearly every product being clothing. The presence of arsenic serves no purpose and is solely a contaminant.
Chemical reports, like the one released by the Washington Toxics and Safer States Coalition, are required by law in some states such as Washington State’s Children’s Safe Products Act of 2008. Some states do not require such reporting, however. Minnesota is one of these states and just recently had a bill voted down by the Minnesota Senate Commerce Committee. The Toxic Free Kids Act of 2013 was voted down by the committee earlier this year.
“The data shows store shelves remain full of toxic chemicals that we know are a concern for children’s health,” said Erika Schreder, science director for the Washington Toxics Coalition, in the WTC press release. “These reports are critical for understanding the presence of toxic chemicals in our homes and the marketplace.”
Governments on every level need to be following suit with Washington state to maintain a strong initiative that protects consumers from exposure to harmful chemicals. Many of these chemicals have no reason to be there. Entities created by individuals of the greater public need to keep pressing government officials to make efforts in informing consumers of these potential, if not imminent, dangers. The companies sure haven’t.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.