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

News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation, Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center, and Frontier Group | Public Health

Trouble in the Air: Marylanders suffered through dozens of days with elevated air pollution in 2020

The Baltimore Metropolitan Area, home to nearly 3 million people, experienced 43 days of elevated air pollution in 2020, according to a new report from Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and Maryland PIRG Foundation. Many metropolitan areas throughout Maryland faced similar levels of air pollution, increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation, Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center, and Frontier Group | Public Health

Trouble in the Air: Marylanders suffered through dozens of days with elevated air pollution in 2020

The Baltimore Metropolitan Area, home to nearly 3 million people, experienced 43 days of elevated air pollution in 2020, according to a new report from Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and Maryland PIRG Foundation. Many metropolitan areas throughout Maryland faced similar levels of air pollution, increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

> Keep Reading

Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

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Statement: Johnson & Johnson recalls sunscreen products after tests detect carcinogens

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. said Wednesday it’s voluntarily recalling all lots of five types of Neutrogena and Aveeno aerosol sunscreen after internal testing showed “low levels of benzene” -- which can cause cancer -- in some samples. J&J also said consumers should stop using the sunscreen.

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News Release | US PIRG | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Statement: Beech-Nut to stop selling some rice cereal over arsenic concerns

Beech-Nut will stop selling all single grain rice cereal after Alaska state officials discovered high arsenic levels during routing sampling, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement released Tuesday.

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Result | Public Health

Protecting Marylanders from toxic lawn chemicals

Toxic chemicals in lawn pesticides pollute our environment and our health. These chemicals can drift into our air, waterways and homes. In 2015, Maryland PIRG helped win restrictions on toxic lawn pesticides in Montgomery County. The restrictions allow only safe pesticides to be used on lawns, playgrounds, recreation areas and children’s facilities’ grounds.

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Result | Public Health

Convincing McDonald’s and Subway to protect public health

In 2015, bolstered by the support of more than 100,000 members and supporters, we convinced both McDonald’s and Subway to take action to protect public health. In March, just two days after we delivered more than 30,000 petitions to McDonald’s headquarters, the company announced that they would stop serving chicken raised on medically-important antibiotics. And in October, after more than 100,000 called on the chain to take action, Subway announced a similar policy for all the meat they serve.

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Result | Public Health

Victory: Macy's commits to phase out toxic flame retardents

We did it: Macy's announced it will stop selling furniture that contains toxic flame retardants.

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Result | Public Health

Victory: Subway Announces Plan to Go Antibiotic Free

We're ecstatic that Subway will be living up to the healthy image they've created. They have more restaurants in the U.S. than any other chain, and their announcement will put major market pressure on the meat producers to stop overusing antibiotics.

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Result | Public Health

KIDS’ SCHOOL LUNCHES NOW SAFER

For years, America’s schoolchildren have been eating beef, chicken and other foods that would have been rejected as substandard even by fast food chains. Thanks in part to our advocacy, the U.S.D.A. has stopped buying such low-quality meat for school lunches.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center | Public Health

A Perfect Storm

SINCE 1980, THE ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Superfund” toxic waste cleanup program has been responsible for identifying the worst toxic waste sites across the country and holding polluters accountable to cover the cost of cleaning them up. When the polluting party cannot be found or afford the cleanup, the Superfund program has the authority and funds to clean up the site. 

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Environment Maryland Education Fund | Public Health

Superfund Underfunded

The Superfund program was originally funded by a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries, but that tax expired in 1995, and now the money for the Superfund program has come primarily through appropriations from the general revenue.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country.  As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.  Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health, Consumer Protection

HOW SAFE IS OUR FOOD?

While our food safety system has improved significantly over the last 100 years, when toxics, fake foodstuffs and bacteria regularly infiltrated the supply, it is clear there is more work to do. A modern society relies on ensuring that the daily act of eating does not undermine the health of the population. 

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Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

Superbugs Unplugged: PIRG launches podcast about antibiotic resistance

Get ready for some alarming stories—and they're all the more alarming because they're true.

On Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC) of George Washington University launched "Superbugs Unplugged," a podcast that will dive into the alarming issue of antibiotic resistance and how we can slow it. Matt Wellington, our Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics campaign director, is co-hosting the podcast, along with Dr. Lance Price of ARAC. 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Kids are back at school. How do we make sure their water is safe to drink?

It's not just Flint or Newark. Parents and teachers are concerned about lead in drinking water throughout the country. And they're looking for steps they can take to get the lead out.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Antibiotics

These lawmakers are urging the EPA to protect our life-saving medicines

U.S. lawmakers have sent a blunt message to the Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Spraying antibiotics on citrus will "escalate [the] antibiotic resistance crisis."

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Blog Post | Public Health

Amazon: Take responsibility for unsafe products

Most of us expect that the products we buy in stores are safe to use. It turns out that's not always the case with Amazon. 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Public education, member action strengthen call to ban Roundup

The more we educate the public about Monsanto's weedkiller, Roundup, the more support we find for banning the product—the residue of which can be found practically everywhere, from breakfast cereal to ice cream.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation, Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center, and Frontier Group

The Baltimore Metropolitan Area, home to nearly 3 million people, experienced 43 days of elevated air pollution in 2020, according to a new report from Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center, Frontier Group and Maryland PIRG Foundation. Many metropolitan areas throughout Maryland faced similar levels of air pollution, increasing the risk of premature death, asthma attacks, cancer and other adverse health impacts.

Public Health

Maryland adopts tougher standard for lead in school kids' drinking water

Gov. Larry Hogan has signed the Safe School Drinking Water Act into law, which requires schools to remediate lead in drinking water taps that test above five parts per billion. State-required testing that Maryland PIRG helped pass has revealed dangerous levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin that's especially hazardous to children, throughout the state.

 

Public Health

Maryland PIRG looks to build on progress for public health, democracy

Last year saw major Maryland PIRG-backed initiatives take effect or become law. In 2021, we’re looking to take on toxic PFAS "forever chemicals," unnecessary barriers to voting, unfair restrictions on our right to repair the stuff we own, the myriad challenges Marylanders face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

 

Public Health

Baltimore puts public health over toxic pesticides

The Baltimore City Council has passed a bill that restricts the use of three toxic pesticides: chlorpyrifos, neonicotinoids and glyphosate (the main ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup). Glyphosate and chlorpyrifos have been linked to severe health issues, while neonicotinoids contribute the decline in bee populations, which threatens our ecosystems and food production.

 

Public Health

Economists call for states to shut down, contain coronavirus before reopening

Economists from leading universities have signed an open letter to decision-makers urging them to scale back reopening in states that fail to meet public health benchmarks, saying the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus will continue as long as the virus goes uncontained.

 
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