CHE-Alaska Teleconference: held on June 24th, 2020

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Despite a growing body of research around the toxicity of chemicals used in consumer products and within our food system, regulation of chemical manufacturers lag behind the science.   Chemicals are used in production, processing, and packaging that are known or suspected to be harmful to humans (e.g. interfere with our endocrine system, cause reproductive harm, cancer and other serious chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease). During this month’s call, entitled ‘Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Everyday Products: Your Right-to-Know and Necessary Actions to Prevent Harm’, we discussed the path that led to the current state of affairs (i.e. lack of federal oversight, industry-funded research, self-regulation), how the adverse health effects of these toxic products disproportionately harm women and communities of color, as well as successful and ongoing methods to address these serious environmental health and justice issues.

Our featured speaker, Stacy Malkan, is a journalist, author, and the co-founder and co-director of US Right to Know, an investigative research group focused on the US food system, carcinogenic chemicals, and reproductive health. In previous roles as the communications director of Health Care Without Harm, the co-director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and media director for the California Right to Know ballot initiative, Malkan has written extensively to eliminate toxic chemicals from a wide range of products including medical supplies, personal care and beauty products, and food and food packaging. Malkan is also the author of ‘Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry’ which presents the author’s investigation into the cosmetics industry, the toxic consumer products they produce and sell, and efforts to obscure science and undercut government regulation.

Related Links/ Resources:

Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry (New Society Publishers, 2007)

US Right to Know

Campaign for Safer Cosmetics

Breast Cancer and the Environment bulletin and fact sheet (ACAT, 2017)

State of the Evidence (2017):

Environmental Working Group (EWG) (2017):

Not So Pretty:

Beauty products can be more toxic for women of color — it’s time to change that (2020):

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