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

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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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Maryland PIRG statement on TSCA Reform

 

Unless Congress makes changes to the preemption clauses in the current bill being negotiated, it would effectively halt state action to restrict a toxic chemical while the EPA is assessing its safety – a years-long process that will leave us all at risk. When it comes to health protections, the federal government should set a floor, not a ceiling. We need sensible TSCA reform in order to keep us safe – not a step backward.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Apply to be a Public Health Intern this summer or fall! | Juliana Bilowich

Want to work alongside lead Maryland PIRG staff?

 

Want to gain valuable work experience?

 

Want to work on important public health issues affecting our daily lives?

 

Apply now for an unpaid internship this summer or fall!

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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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"Trouble in Toyland" report warns of toy hazards

Concerned about inadvertently stuffing the stockings with lead or other dangerous metals and chemicals? The Maryland Public Interest Research Group has just the study for you. Its "Trouble in Toyland" report -- the 28th annual toy-safety survey by U.S. PIRG and its state affiliates -- warns people to "be wary when shopping this holiday season." Though researchers have seen improvements over the years, they're still finding problems ranging from high levels of lead to choking hazards.

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Toy Safety Concerns Outlined in Annual Report

Toxic chemicals, choking hazards and volume so loud it can damage hearing. You can find all three in toys that are on store shelves here in Maryland; something a state public interest group found after they took a closer look at the toys for sale locally.

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Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland, Nov. 26 – Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to Maryland Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report which was released in Baltimore at Sinai Hospital, and in Annapolis at the Chesapeake Children’s Museum. The survey of hazardous toys found that despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

MEDIA ADVISORY: Toy Safety Press Conference

News conferences in Baltimore and Annapolis to release Maryland PIRG’s 28h annual Trouble in Toyland report and list of dangerous toys.  The report finds that despite improvements from recent product reforms, there are still dangerous toys on store shelves that pose a safety hazard.  Maryland PIRG will also publicize an online toy safety quiz parents and others can use to learn more about how to avoid dangerous toys this holiday season.

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News Release | Public Health, Health Care

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

Baltimore, May 23 – The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Not-so-secret-Santas in Congress Using Spending Bill To Roll Back Health, Safety, Wallet Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

With spending authorization for the federal government set to end on December 11, Congressional leaders are working with powerful special interests on their not-so-Secret-Santa lists to use spending bills as vehicles to gut health, safety and wallet protections popular with the general public but not with Wall Street or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They know they cannot win a fair fight. So they’re loading up the must-pass funding bill with so-called “riders,” which are unrelated policies that couldn’t get passed on their own. Everything we fought for in Wall Street reform, including the CFPB, is on the chopping block. So are many other PIRG health, safety, wallet and democracy priorities.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Big Win: Montgomery County votes to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment. | Emily Scarr

The Montgomery County Council just voted to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment.

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Blog Post | Public Health

The Next Battle: E-Cigarettes | Emily Scarr

The fall of the tobacco industry is largely regarded as one of America's greatest public health success stories. But e-cigarettes, the cigarette's modern successors, are flourishing and being marketed as a healthy alternative.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Campaign Kickoff: Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working | Emily Scarr

We had a great turn out for the Kick Off Meeting of our Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working at the beautiful American Brewery Building in Baltimore.

Fifty people representing diverse stakeholders actively joined in the discussions: academics, doctors, nurses, business folks, environmental groups, public health organizations, unions, citizen groups, and many more.

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Blog Post | Public Health

A soggy statement by Subway | Emily Scarr

The “eat fresh” champion served a soggy statement about their antibiotics policy this week. A Subway spokeswomen said, “We have been working toward the elimination of antibiotics... We cannot provide a date when all the work will get done as the demand is somewhat higher than supply right now.” That is not a commitment.

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