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, NRDC, Fashion FWD | Public Health

New scorecard grades popular apparel brands on commitments to avoiding PFAS

Maryland PIRG Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) and Fashion FWD released a scorecard on Wednesday ranking popular retail and apparel brands on policy commitments to eliminate a dangerous class of toxic “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, from their products.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Senate Environment and Health Committee Unanimously Supports George "Walter" Taylor Act

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the George Walter Taylor Act to the Senate Floor. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation, NRDC, Fashion FWD | Public Health

New scorecard grades popular apparel brands on commitments to avoiding PFAS

Maryland PIRG Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) and Fashion FWD released a scorecard on Wednesday ranking popular retail and apparel brands on policy commitments to eliminate a dangerous class of toxic “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, from their products.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Maryland PIRG | Public Health

Senate Environment and Health Committee Unanimously Supports George "Walter" Taylor Act

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the George Walter Taylor Act to the Senate Floor. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Public Health

New report: The threat of "Forever Chemicals" in Maryland

In the last year, the Maryland Department of the Environment has uncovered widespread drinking water contamination from per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS, and issued their first fish consumption advisory due to PFAS contamination in Piscataway Creek. 

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

Group issues new toolkit on lead in school’s drinking water

With kids finally back to school in-person this fall, Maryland PIRG Foundation and Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit today to help parents, teachers and administrators Get the Lead Out of school drinking water. 

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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.

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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 | Public Health

The Threat of "Forever Chemicals"

 Sometimes known by the moniker “forever chemicals” because they are nearly indestructible in the environment, PFAS build up in the bodies of humans over time and persist in the environment. 

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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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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, NRDC, Fashion FWD

Maryland PIRG Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC) and Fashion FWD released a scorecard on Wednesday ranking popular retail and apparel brands on policy commitments to eliminate a dangerous class of toxic “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, from their products.

News Release | Maryland PIRG

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the George Walter Taylor Act to the Senate Floor. 

Public Health

Maryland PIRG-backed comprehensive climate bill clears major hurdle

Pollution from fossil fuel-powered buildings and transportation puts Maryland families’ health and safety at risk. The Climate Solutions Now Act would change that by increasing the state’s electric vehicle fleet and requiring large buildings to reduce emissions, among other key targets.

 

Public Health

Emily Scarr makes the case for action to reduce PFAS

At the Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit, Emily Scarr made the case for stopping the use of "forever chemicals" in our everyday products.

 

Public Health

Maryland PIRG Foundation report details threat of PFAS chemicals

Nearly every American has toxic PFAS chemicals in their blood. A new Maryland PIRG report tells us how PFAS contamination puts our health at risk, what we can do about it. and calls for the regulation and restriction of this class of class of chemicals. 

 

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.

 
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