Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland

PROTECTING MARYLANDERS FROM TOXICS—Maryland PIRG is working with state lawmakers and our powerful coalition, connecting concerned citizens with their representatives, and reaching out to the media in our fight to make Maryland toxics-free.

Protecting Maryland Families

We need to do more to regulate toxic chemicals and prevent vulnerable populations, like women of reproductive age, developing children and factory workers from being unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals.

Today, we are seeing the long-term impact that dangerous chemicals have on people. Leukemia, brain cancer and other childhood cancers have increased by more than 20% since 1975; asthma rates have doubled since 1980; and autism diagnoses have increased tenfold in the last 15 years.

OUR COMMONSENSE STEPS TO A TOXIC-FREE MARYLAND

Our campaign pushes for concrete steps that will help make it easier for Marylanders to protect themselves from toxic chemicals.

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland platform calls for three commonsense steps to protect Marylanders from toxic chemical exposure:

  • Phase out chemicals we know are dangerous, and replace them with safest alternatives available;
  • Provide consumers with health and safety information about the presence of toxic chemicals in everyday products; and
  • Support and encourage research, innovation, education and technology transfer in the field of green chemistry, making Maryland a leader in safe product development.

Issue updates

Blog Post | Public Health

Testimony on HB270 requiring lead testing in Maryland Schools | Emily Scarr

This bill requires testing for lead in drinking water in Maryland public and private schools. It also calls for immediate shut off of outlets with elevated lead and remediation measures to permanently remove lead. While we support this bill, we would recommend removing the exemption for certified lead-free schools because of the possibility of contamination from lead service lines or the water source.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Call your legislator to support the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act | Emily Scarr

Please make a call to your legislators and ask them to protect public health by passing the Keep Antibiotics Effective Act (SB422/HB602)

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

It’s Time to Get the Lead out of School Drinking Water, says Maryland PIRG’s New Report

Citing growing evidence of pervasive lead contamination in schools’ drinking water, Maryland PIRG is calling on the state legislature to establish lead testing in all Maryland schools.  An analysis by Maryland PIRG gave Maryland a failing grade to prevent children’s drinking water from becoming laced with lead at school.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

Lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country.  As our report shows, states are so far failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Testimony to support Keep Antibiotics Effective Act of 2017 SB422/HB206 | Emily Scarr

It’s time to stop the routine use of human antibiotics on farms: the public health community and public agree. It’s good for public health and good for business. Maryland PIRG strongly support SB422/HB206.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG and Breast Cancer Fund | Public Health

Toxic Chemicals Found in Kids' Makeup Products - What Will You Shop for This Halloween?

Findings from the new Breast Cancer Fund report published today and co-released by Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) show potentially harmful chemicals could be in the products marketed to your kids.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

More Than 350,000 Urge KFC to Prevent Abuse of Antibiotics in Its Chicken Supply

Today, representatives from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Food Animals Concern Trust (FACT) will deliver more than 350,000 petitions from consumers nationwide to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (KFC) headquarters in Louisville, while calling on the nation’s largest fried chicken chain to end the routine use of antibiotics by chicken producers in its supply chain. The petition signatures were also collected by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and CREDO Action. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

More Harm than Good: Statement on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Passage

Maryland PIRG is disappointed with the TSCA bill that was passed Tuesday by the Senate and will soon be sent to the President. When it comes to public health protections, the federal government should set a floor, not a ceiling – meaning, minimum levels of protection should be set, not maximum levels. By preempting state efforts to regulate toxic chemicals, this bill does more harm than good.

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Media Hit | Public Health

Juliana Bilowich: Maryland’s chemical protections

The morning before my mom told me she had breast cancer, we went shoe shopping to pick out sandals for the coming summer. I stared down at those sandals as she told me the news, and because I didn’t dare ask my first question – how long until it gets bad – I asked my second question: How did this happen?

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Media Hit | Public Health

Congress poised to pass sweeping reform of chemical law

Congress is on the cusp of passing the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. chemical safety laws in 40 years, a rare bipartisan accord that has won the backing of both industry officials and some of the Hill’s most liberal lawmakers.

The Toxic Substances Control Act, which has not been reauthorized since President Gerald Ford signed it into law in 1976, regulates thousands of chemicals in everyday products including detergents and flame retardants. It has come under sharp criticism as ineffective from all quarters, including environmentalists who back stronger federal oversight and chemical companies that are now subject to a patchwork of more stringent rules in some states.

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Blog Post | Public Health

5 tips for avoiding dangerous chemicals while cleaning your home or business | Juliana Bilowich

Did you know that most chemical substances have not been cleared for safety? Of the 80,000 chemicals on the market today, only 2% have been screened by the EPA. Substances like formaldehyde, phthalates, triclosan, and bisphenols have been linked to growing health concerns like cancers, learning disorders, and asthma. Shockingly, many of these chemicals are in products we use every day to clean our homes and businesses. The good news is that half of the stores surveyed in Baltimore sell a certified non-toxic cleaning product.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Manufacturers report toxics in wide range of household products | Juliana Bilowich

A national report issued this week titled What Stinks? Toxic Phthalates in Your Home reveals that a group of toxic chemicals are used in a broader range of household products than previously known, including products by Hallmark Cards, The Gap, True Value, and more.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Reducing toxic pollution: Maryland proposes new off-gassing limits | Juliana Bilowich

 

Most of us think of ozone as a good thing – but that’s only partially true. Unlike the “good” ozone in the stratosphere that protects us, ground level or “bad” ozone is a colorless gas that forms just above the earth’s surface, where people, animals, and plants live and breathe.  Ground level ozone can cause airway inflammation even in healthy people and affects susceptible populations more.

 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Federal toxic substance reform threatens Maryland’s chemical protections | Juliana Bilowich

 

We need sensible toxic chemical reform.

The TSCA Modernization Act, which passed both congressional chambers last year but has yet to become law, makes important updates to the way the EPA restricts toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, the new law could also preclude states from taking action on their own to enact chemical protections.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Landmark bill delayed: toxic chemicals unregulated in childcare centers | Juliana Bilowich

 A precedent-setting bill to regulate the use of toxic cleaning supplies in daycare centers stalled in the Maryland House of Delegates this legislative session. 

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