News release March 24th, 2014: Generations at Risk Lecture Series in Alaska with Preeminent Scientist Dr. Tracey Woodruff
Preeminent Scientist Dr. Tracey Woodruff Addresses Alaskans—
Generations at Risk and the Vulnerabilities of Children, Women, and Future Generations
WHAT: A public lecture series Generations at Risk: Toxic Chemicals and Effects on Children,
Reproductive Health, and Future Generations– March 25 (Anchorage) – March 26 (Juneau), 2014. The lecture series focuses on the latest scientific evidence about health effects of chemical exposures and policy changes that are needed to protect vulnerable populations. Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) and the University of Alaska are sponsoring a series of free public lectures with Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Director of the University of California at San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. Dr. Woodruff is a preeminent scientist and speaker with expertise concerning reproductive health and the environment, especially reproductive and endocrine effects of chemical exposures. She is a professor in Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences/School of Medicine and Director of the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of CA at San Francisco. (https://www.akaction.org/?p=2938)
WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday, March 25, 7-9 pm at the University of Alaska (UAA) in Fine ARTS 150, Anchorage. Read more.
News Release February 19th, 2014: SB 151 HSS hearing for Toxic-Free Children’s Act
Alaskan moms, nurses, fire fighters testify to the Health and Social Services Committee hearing supporting the Toxic-Free Children’s Act (SB 151): to protect children from toxic flame retardant chemicals found in children’s products in Alaska.
February 19th, 2014 – Juneau, AK Legislators will hear strong support from Alaskan mothers, nurses, and firefighters at the legislative hearing of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee for Senator Donny Olson’s Toxic-Free Children’s Act (SB 151). SB 151 will protect children from exposure to toxic flame retardant chemicals in products. This bill focuses on phasing out carcinogenic and neurotoxic flame retardants in children’s products and requires the state to create a list of chemicals of concern to children’s health.
Toxic flame retardants are found in baby and children’s products including foam-filled furniture, nap mats, nursing pillows, car seats, and play tents. The bill addresses a class of chemicals known as tris flame retardants which are known to cause cancer, as well as neurological and reproductive harm. In the 1970’s, chlorinated tris was discontinued for use in baby sleepwear due to its mutagenicity. Read more.
News Release February 4th, 2014
Fairbanks Residents Notify EPA of Intent to Sue for Turning Blind Eye to Dirty Air
Community groups frustrated with failure to address dirty air, some of the worst in the nation
Fairbanks, AK — The Fairbanks North Star Borough has some of the worst and most dangerous air quality in the nation. Today, Alaska community groups joined together to demand that responsible officials address the problems that Borough residents and their families face when simply breathing in Fairbanks.
Citizens for Clean Air, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, and the Sierra Club sent a letter calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compel the State of Alaska to produce a long-overdue and legally mandated plan to address air pollution in Fairbanks. The State was required under the Clean Air Act to develop a plan by June of 2011 to combat the unhealthy air, a deadline the State has failed to meet. Rather than require Alaska to submit its late plan, EPA irresponsibly has proposed to extend the deadline. The letter, submitted by environmental law firm Earthjustice’s Alaska office, notified EPA of the community groups’ intent to sue if EPA does not correct its course and comply with the law in 60 days. Read more.
News Release | 60 Day Notice Letter
Alaskan Senator Donny Olson introduces Toxic-Free Children’s Act (SB 151): moms, nurses, fire fighters all support state action to protect children from toxic flame retardants found in children’s products in Alaska.
Senator Olson’s News Release 2/3/14 | Toxic-Free Children’s Act news release 2/3/14
February 3rd, 2014 – Juneau, AK On Friday, Senator Donny Olson, representing the Bering Straits/Interior villages, introduced the Toxic-Free Children’s Act (SB 151) to protect children from toxic flame retardants in products. Toxic flame retardants are found in baby and children’s products including foam- filled furniture, nap mats, nursing pillows, car seats, and play tents. The bill focuses on a class of chemicals known as tris flame retardants which are known to cause cancer, as well as neurological and reproductive harm. In the 1970’s, chlorinated tris was discontinued for use in baby sleepwear due to its carcinogenicity.
“I’m concerned about the harms that toxic chemicals cause in my community of Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, where we see health disparities such as high cancer rates. We have military and global pollution that are contaminating our environment, our traditional foods, our homes, and our own bodies. In addition, we need to address toxic chemicals in the products we purchase for our homes, including products for children and babies. Known cancer-causing flame retardants such as tris flame retardants are harming us. The current federal law does not protect children, pregnant women, or communities like mine. I support the Toxic-Free Children’s Act because I want to protect my two baby nephews and all Alaskan children from unnecessary toxic exposures. Thank you to Senator Olson for introducing this important legislation.” – Tiffany Immingan, St. Lawrence Island Yupik youth from Savoonga and volunteer with ACAT
72 groups urge the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to move forward with a risk assessment for chlorpyrifos
Alaska Community Action on Toxics joined 71 groups urging the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to move forward with a risk assessment for chlorpyrifos:
We urge DPR to act now on the overwhelming scientific evidence of health harms of chlorpyrifos for children and fetuses. Reviewing regulations designed to protect surface waters in California from chlorpyrifos exposure is a good step, but we believe there’s enough evidence to support cancellation of all uses of this pesticide. The risk assessment process should be resumed immediately to move down that path.
In the meantime, interim steps should be taken to protect the health of all Californians, including:
- making chlorpyrifos a restricted use pesticide,
- adding mitigations such as prohibiting hazardous application methods such as orchard
- blaster and aerial applications, and
- requiring protective buffer zones around sensitive sites such as schools.
We also urge DPR to work with other state government departments to ensure that farmers in California are given adequate support to transition away from chlorpyrifos and move towards agroecological pest management.
Take action here.
Press release Dec 11 2013
Vi Waghiyi and Shelley Klein Apatiki – the persistent organic pollutants from pesticides and other toxics travel from around the world to the Arctic where they bioaccumulate in the traditional foods of the Yupik peoples of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. This contamination is a violation of human rights.
In honor of International Human Rights Day, groups around the country call upon the U. S. State Department to address human rights violations of the “Big 6” Multi-National pesticide industry corporations
Groups urge immediate action to address human rights violations perpetrated by the six largest pesticide and agricultural biotechnology corporations at home and abroad
December 11, 2013, Washington, DC—In recognition of International Human Rights Day yesterday, a coalition of farmworker, food, public health, Indigenous Peoples, and environmental health and justice advocates delivered a unique photo-petition with over fifty “photostatements” to top officials at the U.S. State Department and White House urging them to hold the world’s six largest pesticide multi-national corporations accountable for human rights abuses. During the first week in December — in remembrance of the worst pesticide disaster in world history at Bhopal, India on December 3, 1984 and culminating on December 10, International Human Rights Day — the groups collected widespread support and pictorial testimonies from people demanding an end to human rights violations by multi-national pesticide companies. The petition — addressed to Jason Pielemeier of the Business and Human Rights Section at the U.S. Department of State, and Susan Rice, the President’s National Security Advisor — calls upon the US Government to fulfill its obligations to protect human rights from corporate abuse, particularly by the pesticide industry, under the provisions of ‘The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’, an international framework that U.S. officials helped draft. Read more.
Children’s Furniture Contains Harmful Flame Retardant Chemicals
Popular characters hide toxic chemicals in foam in kids’ furniture –exposure may cause health problems for our children
November 20, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – Independent testing found flame retardants in foam furniture for children purchased in 13 states and in Canada, including Alaska. Fire safety scientists are concerned because flame retardant chemicals do not provide fire safety benefits in furniture, yet exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, infertility and other serious health problems. “A Spiderman chair that we purchased at a Walmart in Anchorage was tested and it has a harmful flame retardant called Firemaster 550 in it,” says Maricarmen Cruz-Guilloty, Environmental Health and Justice Coordinator from Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Arctic Indigenous peoples already carry a high burden of many of the other toxic flame retardants in their bodies. Exposure to these chemicals is linked with thyroid disease, learning and developmental disorders, reproductive problems, and certain cancers. Alaska also has the highest rates of birth defects in the nation. Our children should not be exposed to these chemicals. Kids are especially vulnerable to these chemicals.” These persistent chemicals are carried via wind and ocean currents and concentrate in Arctic wildlife and people. People living in the north are also exposed through indoor air and dust and may have higher exposures because homes are closed in a for a greater part of the year. Report: Playing on Poisons-Harmful Flame Retardants in Children’s Furniture released by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH)ACAT News Release | ACAT Publications | More information | National Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety
Alaskans go to Washington DC Capitol for a “National Stroller Brigade”
St. Lawrence Island delegation hand delivers resolutions to Senators Begich and Murkowski
Washington DC, October 29th, 2013 – Alaskan women have joined hundreds of mothers, nurses, and cancer survivors in the nation’s capital demanding action for real reform on toxic chemicals to revise the 37 year old Toxic Substance Control Act. The group will have a press rally at 10 am ET on October 29th at the national capitol with a stroller brigade asking congress to strengthen the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, a bill to overhaul antiquated laws governing toxic chemicals. The stroller brigade may be viewed live at 6 am, Alaska time here: www.saferchemicals.org/strollerbrigade. The Alaska Federation of Natives passed resolution 13-23 which states in part: We trust that our Alaska Senators will read this resolution and join us and other groups in developing and advancing the TSCA reform legislation that provides meaningful protections from, and safer solutions to, harmful chemicals. Two delegates from St. Lawrence Island will hand deliver resolutions from the villages of Gambell and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island urging chemical policy reform to Senators Begich and Murkowski tomorrow with the Stroller Brigade. Read more.
Original drawing by GeorgeAnne Sprinkle
UN Expert Committee: Pentachlorophenol is one of the world’s worst chemicals
Agrees to incorporate climate change impacts in toxic chemical evaluation
(Rome, Italy) A UN expert committee recommended global action on pentachlorophenol – a pesticide used for wood treatment including utility poles. The Committee justified its recommendation for the Stockholm Convention due to pentachlorophenol’s persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport, and its toxic impacts. Governments around the world will decide on the recommendation in 2015. “This is the beginning of the end of pentachlorophenol,” said Pam Miller, Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Pentachlorophenol has global health implications since it is found in the bodies of people throughout the world including Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. Now governments and the private sector need to get to work to eliminate this toxic chemical.” The Stockholm Convention expert committee also agreed to include climate change as a factor in its assessments of candidate chemicals. The guidance document notes that warming temperatures can liberate toxic chemicals and increase their toxicity and exposure. Read more.
Mothers and Others Against Mercury call for the Alaska Mental Health Trust to divest from coal
Public health and safety concerns are brought to the board’s attention – yet they still pursue their toxic agenda
Anchorage, AK – The Alaska Mental Health Trust continues to lease coal resources to the highest bidder in spite of public health concerns around coal development in Alaska communities. On Wednesday September 4th, Mothers and others against mercury and coal development in Alaska will have a stroller brigade to the Alaska Mental Health Trust (AMHT) board meeting at the AMHT headquarters from Tikishla Park in Anchorage beginning at 3 pm. Participants in the stroller brigade will deliver petitions and provide testimony about the public health threats of coal mining and combustion in Alaska. Lisa Wade , a mother, and Chickaloon Village Tribal citizen, tribal council member, and Health and Social Services Director for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council states: “These coal mines threaten the health of our children, our salmon, our water and air quality, our traditions, and our way of life.” Read more. Pdf 2013-09-03_News Release_Mothers_Against_Mercury_Stroller_Brigade_AMHT
A new bi-partisan effort for Toxic Chemicals Reform
Important public health safeguards are still needed in new bill for meaningful toxic chemical reform.
Anchorage, AK, 5/24/13 – The “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013” was introduced by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) in a new bi-partisan effort for toxic chemicals reform. This legislation amends the Toxic Substances Control Act, which has not been updated since 1976. “Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) appreciates that Senators Murkowski and Begich joined in the bi-partisan effort to reform the country’s ineffective federal chemical management policy system that has failed to protect human health. Over the past several years, we know that they have heard from Alaska Native communities, health care professionals, and many other Alaskans that we need to protect people from the acute and chronic dangers of industrial toxic chemicals. We are committed to work together with our Senators in making the Chemical Safety Improvement Act as strong as possible to protect those most harmed by failed chemical regulations, including adding protections for ‘hot spots’ – communities most harmed by chemicals – and to ensure expedited action to restrict known persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals. We also must ensure that states have the right and authority to enact stronger and more protective measures if needed,” said Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “The ongoing release of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals is of great concern to Arctic Indigenous peoples who have some of the highest chemical body burdens of any population on earth”, stated Vi Waghiyi, a Yupik mother and grandmother, a tribal member of the Native Village of Savoonga from St. Lawrence Island and Environmental Health and Justice Program Director with Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Our people are suffering and dying because of the chemicals that we are exposed to without our consent. This must change and hold the industries accountable. We call upon our Senators to take leadership in ensuring that our communities have the strongest possible protections for our health and well-being and future generations.” Read more. S.1009 – A bill to reauthorize and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act, and for other purposes.
Film exposes the military cover-up of one of the largest drinking water contamination incidents in American history and the uncovering of rare male breast cancer cluster
Anchorage, AK, 5/28/13 – Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) welcomes national hero Jerry Ensminger to Alaska from May 29-June 3, 2013 for a lecture and film series. The tour of five Alaska communities will feature the award-winning documentary film, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which exposes the Marine Corps cover-up of one of the largest drinking water contamination incidents in American history. Jerry Ensminger is a former Marine Corps Master Sergeant who brought national attention to the groundwater contamination at Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, and exposed a disease cluster, including what is perhaps the largest cluster of rare male breast cancer ever identified. An estimated 1 million Marines and their families were exposed to toxic chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water over several decades.
In Jerry’s own words: “I have been fighting for justice in the Camp Lejeune drinking water contamination issue for 15 years. My fight has given me a very unique perspective into our country’s programs and policies which are contributing to disease clusters and the overall demise of public health in general.” The film Semper Fi: Always Faithful will tour with Jerry Ensminger beginning in Anchorage on Wednesday May 29th at the Anchorage Museum with a reception beginning at 6:30 pm. The next stop for the lecture and film tour is Fairbanks on Thursday May 30th at the Pioneer Park Theater with a reception at 6:30 pm. Jerry will visit Nome on Monday June 3rd with a film showing and talk on Monday June 3 at Old St. Joseph’s Church at Anvil Square. He also visits Gambell and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island on June 1st 2nd, respectively. Media Advisory 5/17/13 | News Release 5/28/13 | Events
Governments provisionally agree to ban widely-used toxic chemical at UN meeting
Geneva, Switzerland, 5/3/13 – International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) congratulates governments for their provisional decision to globally ban production and use of the commonly-used flame retardant, Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). This historic consensus decision was made at the meeting of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants by over 100 countries. “We applaud countries for their decision to ban this chemical and not to allow the recycling of products containing it,” said Dr. Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN senior adviser. “This will prevent materials containing HBCD from being recycled into new products and protect people from contamination that would otherwise cause serious damage to their health.” Read more.
Rep. Gara Introduces Bill to Protect Salmon Streams and Water Sources from Toxic Pesticides
House Bill 201 Establishes Buffer Zones and Restores Public Participation
Juneau, AK, 4/12/13 – This week, Representative Les Gara introduced legislation (HB 201) which, if passed, would protect salmon streams and drinking water sources from toxic pesticides by establishing buffer zones. HB 201 would establish important buffer zones to prevent the application of herbicides and pesticides within 150 feet of salmon streams and 600 feet of drinking water sources. HB 201 would also restore requirements for public notification and opportunities for public participation in the pesticide permitting process. Read more.
Safe Chemicals Act would reform a broken system; industry is poised to challenge
Anchorage, AK, April 10, 2013 – Led by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), 29 senators today (4/10/13) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013. The legislation would provide long overdue remedies to repair the nation’s broken chemical policies and limit the use of unsafe chemicals linked to cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive harm, and other illnesses.Under current law, the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), chemicals are presumed safe until regulatory agencies can prove them harmful. There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market, yet only a handful of them have been tested for safety. This bill would update the current law and require manufacturers of industrial chemicals to test the safety of all chemicals and would act swiftly to replace the worst chemicals with safer alternatives.In Alaska, studies have shown that people living in northern latitudes are more highly exposed to persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals from local and distant sources. Read more. Safe Chemicals Act News Release 4/10/2013
Parents should not have to worry when their children nap at daycare
Anchorage, AK, February 19, 2013 – Children’s nap mats from Alaska, Washington, California, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut contain harmful flame retardant chemicals, according to independent testing commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in collaboration with Alaska Community Action on Toxics and other groups. The flame retardant chemicals found in the nap mats, which are used in daycare centers in Alaska and nationwide, have been linked to cancer, genetic damage, impacts on fertility and reproductive health, allergies, hormone disruption, and other serious health problems. Alaska Community Action on Toxics, CEH, the Washington Toxics Coalition, Vermont Public Interest Research Group, Clean and Healthy New York, and Clean Water Action chapters in Massachusetts and Connecticut collected 24 nap mats, and sent them to Duke University researcher Heather Stapleton for testing. Dr. Stapleton’s testing found flame retardant chemicals in all but two of the nap mats. The testing found 10 different flame retardant chemicals (or chemical mixtures) in the nap mats; 19 of the nap mats contain more than one harmful flame retardant chemical. Eleven of the nap mats were advertised as flame resistant. News Release, pdf of News ReleaseReport: Naptime Nightmares? Toxic Flame Retardants in Child Care Nap MatsPodcast and presentation with Dr. Heather Stapleton recorded 2/13/13
Parnell Administration’s Continuing Assault on Democracy
Anchorage, AK, February 8, 2013 – The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued final regulations that eliminate the right of Alaskans to participate in decisions about the spraying of pesticides and herbicides on public lands. The regulations will allow the application of pesticides without allowing citizens to provide information and participate in decisions protect our drinking water sources and salmon streams.
The Parnell Administration adopted these regulations despite widespread public opposition. “The pesticide regulations weaken democratic participation in decisions that affect water quality, fish habitat, and public health. Alaskans have a right-to-know and right to participate in decisions about pesticide spraying on our public lands,” stated Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Our organizations and the public have interests at stake that are comprehensively grounded in the Constitution of the State of Alaska and those interests cannot be taken away, without due process: notice and an opportunity to be heard.” Read more: News Release
Alaskan Native Peoples and allies join the Idle No More Movement day of Global Action
Anchorage, AK, January 10, 2013 – Indigenous people and allies from across Alaska will gather in Town Square on Friday in solidarity with the Idle No More Movement for indigenous sovereignty sweeping across Canada and the Globe. Alaska’s Idle No More Event will emphasize the issues that Alaska’s Indigenous Peoples face concerning sovereignty, subsistence rights, environment, health and well-being, culture, and spirituality. This will be a peaceful Rally. We are drumming, singing, dancing, praying and giving voice to the Spirit of our lands and waters, which need our defense now.
The Idle No More Movement began as a response to a renewed assault on indigenous rights in Canada by the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The movement has forced Harper to meet with a coalition of First Nations leaders, including Atiwapiskat Chief Teresa Spence who has been on hunger strike for nearly a month. Friday’s Rally in Anchorage is part of solidarity actions planned across the globe. (Follow on Twitter #J11) Check out the extensive media Coverage of the event.
How retailers respond to consumer demand for safe personal care products
Anchorage, AK, December 5, 2012 – Want to know which retailers are naughty and which are nice when it comes to their commitment to cosmetics safety? Who is leading the market trend toward safer products and who’s lagging behind? Which stores consumers should support with their dollars as they shop for non-toxic stocking stuffers this holiday season and which should get coal? On December 11, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Alaska Community Action on Toxics will release a report, Retailer Therapy: Ranking retailers on their commitment to cosmetics safety, putting a spotlight on Walmart, Target, Macy’s, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Kroger and Whole Foods Market. Why rank retailers on cosmetics safety?The $50 billion personal care product industry in the United States is largely unregulated, meaning products you buy at your local retailer—from baby shampoo to lipstick to moisturizers—can contain chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other chronic diseases.Read more.
Cancer Causing Chemicals Found in Couches, Homes
Anchorage, Alaska, November 29, 2012 – A new peer-reviewed study released today tested over 100 couch samples from across the U.S. and found that 85% contained toxic or untested flame retardant chemicals. This includes 41% of the couches testing positive for the cancer-causing chlorinated Tris, which was banned from children’s pajamas decades ago. The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, emphasizes the failures of inadequate federal laws on toxic chemicals. Weak federal laws have allowed toxic chemicals like flame retardants on to the market with limited health and safety information required. The study also shows an increase in the use of flame retardants in newer couches, despite no data demonstrating fire safety benefit from the use of such chemicals. Read more.
Geneva, Switzerland, October 19, 2012 – The United Nations (UN) ‘scientific’ committee responsible for evaluating and recommending hazardous and persistent chemicals for global bans failed to take any action on a group of carcinogenic industrial chemicals that are also toxic to aquatic organisms. Ironically, the committee agreed that short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) are toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative and transboundary, and hence, candidates for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention on POPs. Despite meeting all scientific criteria, the committee decided to take no action on SCCPs. The committee has delayed action on these substances for the past six years.
“It appears that the committee once again delayed action because SCCPs are widely used – instead of focusing on their potential harms as obligated by the Stockholm Convention,” said Mariann Lloyd-Smith, IPEN. “That raises concerns about scientific integrity and whether commercial considerations are a higher priority than the Stockholm Convention’s goal of protecting human health and the environment.”Read more.
Palmer, AK, September 19, 2012 – Last night, the Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly ignored dozens of local health professionals, coalition partners and concerned citizens asking them to pass resolution No. 12-108 that would require a Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment for the three proposed coal mines in the borough. Despite eloquent support from the overwhelming majority of public testimony, the assembly voted (4-2) to postpone the resolution indefinitely. The current permitting process for coal mines is not obligated to consider the health and safety risks we will face in our communities from coal mining and transportation. Doctors, nurses and community health leaders list their top concerns: coal dust, water quality degradation and road safety. Read More.Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Challenging Wishbone Hill Permits … Last week, federal judge John Sedwick dismissed a lawsuit over Usibelli Coal’s mining permits for theWishbone Hill mine near Sutton. The suit had been filed in …www.alaskapublic.org/…/judge-throws-out-lawsuit-challengin…
Anchorage, AK, August 6, 2012 – A coalition of conservation, wildlife and public health groups in the Gulf region and in Alaska filed a citizen suit under the provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act today to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a rule on chemical oil dispersants. EPA’s current rules — which during the 2010 Gulf oil disaster failed to ensure that dispersants would be used safely — do not fulfill the requirements mandated by the Clean Water Act. During the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants were dumped into Gulf waters with little knowledge or research into the chemicals’ toxic impacts. Currently, regulations dictating dispersants eligible for use in oil spills require minimal toxicity testing and no requirement for safety. “These dispersants would likely have devastating effects on the sensitive marine waters, fish, marine mammals and coastal communities of the Arctic, where plans for oil and gas development are proceeding without adequate spill prevention and response measures. We cannot allow a repeat in Alaska of the uncontrolled experiment with dispersants that followed the BP spill in the Gulf,” said Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. Read more.Link to the citizen’s suit on dispersants (Legal complaint against the US EPA).
Anchorage, AK, July 19, 2012 – The event kicks off Anchorage’s participation in Fixing the Future Across Americaa national campaign led by JumpStart Productions, Area23a and the media strategy organization Active Voice. Alaska Community Action on Toxics is one of more than 50 groups around the country participating in the campaign, using Fixing the Futureto encourage American communities to create resilient, local economies through innovative approaches to job creation. Fixing the Future Across America also links together a national network of business groups and community-based organizations working to improve their local economies. “This screening is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about ways we can strengthen our communities, our economy, and get people involved” said Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Our mission related services promote safe alternatives to dangerous chemicals. We want this event to generate more support for our programs and to inspire community members and entrepreneurs with sustainable ideas to manifest their dreams. We envision a sustainable community with access to clean air, clean water, and toxic free food.” Read more.
WASHINGTON, DC, May 22, 2012 – Today two Alaskan representatives joined hundreds of moms, nurses and cancer survivors to demand action on toxic chemicals. The group rallied in support of Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul antiquated laws governing toxic chemicals. “The scientific evidence is significant and continues to grow. Research shows that toxic chemicals are a contributing factor in the rise of learning and developmental disabilities in this country. During my teaching career, I saw a steady increase in the number and the dramatic effects learning disabilities have in Alaska’s schools,” states Sonja Tobiessen, a retired special education teacher. “Our families deserve common sense protections from toxic chemicals.” Read More.
Alaskans Descend on Capitol for a “National Stroller Brigade” Moms, Nurses, Cancer Survivors, Highlight Science Showing Early Origins of Disease from Toxic Chemicals. WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of moms, nurses and cancer survivors will gather at the U.S. Capitol to demand action on toxic chemicals. The group is rallying in support of Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul antiquated laws governing toxic chemicals. The National Stroller Brigade builds on 30 local events in support of the Safe Chemicals Act, in locations as diverse as Little Rock and Omaha. Hundreds of moms – many with children in tow – flew or bused into Washington to deliver 125,000 petition signatures to their Senators. Read more.
NEWS CONFERENCE 4/30/12 –
Statements and Testimonials from the International Indigenous Women’s Environmental and Reproductive Health Symposium
ANCHORAGE, AK, April 25, 2012 – Indigenous women will speak concerning their struggles to protect the health and human rights of present and future generations affected by harmful mining development, military activities, industrial chemicals, and radioactive contamination. The women will present a special report from this 2nd Annual International Indigenous Women’s Environmental & Reproductive Health Symposium that will also be delivered to the United Nations. Read More.
WASHINGTON, DC, April 10, 2012 – The American Chemical Council (ACC), the largest trade group for chemical manufacturers such as Dow and Exxon Mobil, has launched an unusual new ad campaign in support of key members of Congress, prompting concern that the ads are a reward for blocking new consumer safeguards pending in Congress. Read More.
JUNEAU, AK, April 2, 2012 – Today, the Alaska State Senate passed legislation that helps protect Alaskan families from toxic chemicals in their homes. Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), would ban the use of polybrominated fire retardants (PBDEs) in mattresses, upholstered furniture and electronics. Read More.
January 11, 2012 – Confronting Toxics in Everyday Products and People, Alaska Lecture Tour Shares Public Health Message. ANCHORAGE, HOMER & FAIRBANKS, AK – The United States chemical industry is the largest in the world, accounting for 25% of all chemical production. Tens of billions of pounds of chemical substances are produced in the U.S. or imported every day. While many of these substances are important in industrial processes and commercial product development, some are also known to be hazardous to human biology and ecological systems. With more than 80,000 chemicals in use today, less than 2 percent have been evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency for health impacts. Read more.
April 29, 2011 – Killer Pesticide Endosulfan to be Phased Out Globally GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Gathered in Geneva for the Fifth Conference of the Parties this week, the nations of the world agreed to add endosulfan, an antiquated persistent insecticide, to the Stockholm Convention’s list of banned substances. Environmental health and justice organizations from around the world who have been working towards a ban welcomed the decision. Read more.
April 27, 2011 – Toxic Chemicals Under Carpets: New study reveals dangerous chemicals in carpet padding. Carpet pads commonly sold to consumers in the USA and other developed countries contain dangerous chemicals that can cause nervous system damage, particularly in infants and toddlers. In the first publicly available study of its kind, a type of foam carpet padding commonly sold in the USA was demonstrated to contain flame retardant chemicals linked to diseases and disorders. Read more.
April 14, 2011 – Chemical Reform Urgent for People of Color and Low Income Communities.Underserved communities disproportionately impacted by Failed regulatory policy, legacy contamination, and resulting illness Read more.
April 14, 2011 – Congress Introduces Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 to Reform Chemicals Law. WASHINGTON, DC – The Environmental Justice & Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform is watching how Congress handles introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 proposed today by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to reform the nation’s chemical regulations, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). Senator Boxer (D-CA), Senator Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) are co-sponsors of the new legislation. The Act has provisions on some long standing environmental justice concerns, including a new program to identify and specifically address communities that are toxic “hot spots” and consideration of the cumulative exposure of chemicals. Read more.
February 7, 2011 – New Report Reveals Toxics in Coal Combustion Waste in Alaska. ANCHORAGE, AK – As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers whether and how to regulate waste from coal plants, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) issued a report today as a first step in identifying where Alaska fits into the debate. The report, Our Health, Our Right to Know: A Report on Toxic Chemicals Found in Coal Combustion Waste in Alaska, reveals high levels of heavy metals in coal combustion waste, also known as coal ash. The report came about after citizens came forward with local concerns about the use of coal ash in their neighborhoods. Read more.
June 2, 2010 – Alaskans Challenge Alaska Railroad Herbicide Spraying Permit. ANCHORAGE, AK – Alaskans are challenging a permit that would allow the Alaska Railroad to spray herbicides along large sections of track for the first time in 26 years. Opposing an April 30 decision by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) to allow the Alaska Railroad to spray toxic herbicides along the railbelt from Seward to Indian, public interest law firm Trustees for Alaska filed a request for an adjudicatory hearing on behalf of the Native Village of Eklutna, Alaska Community Action on Toxics and six other community groups. Read more.
February 4, 2010 – Toxic Chemicals and Brain Development: Neurotoxic Chemicals Found in Learning and Developmental Disabilities Community. ANCHORAGE, AK – In an innovative development that could transform the way Americans view the origins of learning and developmental disabilities, Alaska Community Action on Toxics and the national Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community. Mind, Disrupted: How Toxic Chemicals May Change How We Think and Who We Are examines 61 toxic chemicals present in project participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities. Read more.
February 4, 2010 – Alaska Natives Support Chemical Management Reform for Health of Their Communities and the Arctic: Group seeks environmental justice for the Indigenous Peoples of Alaska. Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health will examine public exposures to toxic chemicals. Alaska Native leaders call on Congress to include circumpolar atmospheric pollution in their hearing. The Yupik people of St. Lawrence Island, and rural communities across the state of Alaska, are concerned about health problems that are associated with persistent organic pollutants present in their air, water, and food. Read more.
October 29, 2009 – Seward Residents Want to Be Free from Dirty Coal Dust: Railroad, Aurora Energy Get One More Chance to Clean Up Their Act. SEWARD, AK – Local conservation groups today put Alaska Railroad Corporation and Aurora Energy Services on notice that the companies need to control the coal at the Seward coal loading facility. A lack of adequate pollution controls at the facility has resulted in ongoing dumping of coal debris into Resurrection Bay and uncontrolled blowing coal dust, damaging water quality in the Bay and threatening the tourism industry it supports. Read more.
May 11, 2009 – Global chemical treaty adds lindane to ban list: Neurotoxic pesticide one of nine new chemicals targeted by the POPs treaty. GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Twelve of the most environmentally damaging chemicals ever manufactured are already targeted for elimination under the agreement, and this week delegates resolved to add nine more, including lindane and two related substances that are unavoidable byproducts of its production. Read more.