Starting out the giving season, we can’t think of a better way to begin than by sharing some of our favorite nonprofits that are working on cleaning up toxic chemicals in our everyday lives. Learn more about each one of these great organizations. See something missing? Let us know in the comments!
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been active since 2004, spreading awareness of potentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics, products most of us use every day. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reports on the safety of cosmetics and what the personal care industry is doing to address it. Check out their Chemicals of Concern and Retailer Therapy Report for more insight into what goes into our everyday products and which retailers are trustworthy. The campaign is a project of the Breast Cancer Fund, which creates campaigns that share the science of breast cancer and environmental exposures.The Breast Cancer Fund is supported by a variety of notable nonprofits with similar missions. Together, these organization have released reports on chemical safety and actively seek to work with cosmetics companies large and small to ensure the use of nontoxic ingredients.
The Center for Environmental Health has been fighting for safer chemical use since 1996. Their goal is to protect us from toxic chemicals by working with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to demand and support business practices that are safe for public health and the environment. They have co-sponsored legislation and conducted studies that have changed the way companies do business: everyone from Coke & Pepsi to furniture makers. You can read more about their incredible achievements over here. Learn more about how to get involved in their Chemical Safety campaign, read about glyphosate and help eliminate toxic flame retardants
Originally called the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, a small group of attorneys banded together to preserve Mineral King – a gorgeous mountain valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains – from being overtaken by a Walt Disney ski resort. Not only did they eventually win the lawsuit, but this set a critical precedent for protecting the environment, by being able to claim that private citizens who use the valley would be harmed by the development of the resort. Nice! In 1997, the organization relaunched as Earthjustice and have filed thousands of cases on behalf of the environment. They have Their current work runs the gamut of environmental issues, including issues around climate change, wildlife, clean water, clean air and toxic chemical use. Visit their website to find some great information on their work and how you can get involved in fighting the good fight!
EDF is one of the largest environmental nonprofits in the world and they have been active since 1967, when a few scientists collaborated with lawyers to fight the use of DDT. You might remember from Silent Spring that it was harming wild birds, especially peregrine falcons and bald eagles. Due to EDF’s case, DDT was banned and bird populations have rebounded. That first victory was a catalyst to form an organization to continue to fight for the safety of the environment. With over 1 million members, EDF has a long list of accomplishments from climate protection to pushing for the removal of toxic chemicals. They have a great list of resources – reports, fact sheets and more – to help you understand what’s at stake.
After losing their only child to cancer, James and Nancy Chuda founded Healthy Child Healthy World to inspire parents to protect children against harmful chemicals. Toxins in the home could be a factor in health problems such as cancer, autism, allergies, and asthma, so it makes sense to know what chemicals are in your child’s life. Healthy Child Healthy World works to empower parents, promote solutions, and influence policy regarding the use of nontoxic products in the home. Read their blog for advice and news on how to minimize toxins in your food and the products you use every day – everything from sunblock to nail polish. Their Healthy Parenting Kit contains advice and products to help parents and caregivers provide a safe home environment free from toxic chemicals.
Made Safe is the first of its kind, providing America’s first comprehensive human health-focused certification for nontoxic products across store aisles, from baby to personal care to household and beyond. Their goal is to change the way products are made in this country to ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. They’re partnering with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to help get the word out and encourage collaboration on this critical concern. At a time when voting with our dollars matters more than ever, Made Safe is helping the conscious consumer make decisions in their personal care purchases easier than ever before.
Silent Spring Institute brings together researchers and activists to better inform our understanding of the connection between the environment and our health, with a particular emphasis on breast cancer. Through extensive research and work with partners, SSI has done an incredible job of bringing to light the importance of how everyday use of toxic chemicals are harmful. Their website is filled with helpful information, including suggestions on what you can do to reduce your exposure, tips on how to live green on college campuses and an important research article about consumer products containing potentially harmful chemicals not listed on their labels (sigh).
Why a women’s organization? Because women’s lives and bodies are affected in particular ways by certain toxins. Most chemicals approved for safe use have been tested on adult males in an industrial environment. We don’t have as much information on how the chemicals we use every day affect girls’ and women’s health – especially reproductive health. Women’s bodies store toxins differently from men’s, and can pass the effects of chemicals to children through pregnancy and breastfeeding. Women’s Voices for the Earth mobilizes and empowers women to understand the impact of toxins in our bodies and communities, with a special focus on the particular chemicals that women are more likely to use and be exposed to, such as cleaning and beauty products. Check out their 15 Toxic Tresspassers listing harmful chemicals to avoid in everyday products, and their handy archive of Fact Sheets including resources in Vietnamese and Spanish.
Is one of your favorite orgs missing? Tell us in the comments below!