Mike Belliveau's blog

So you finally put that new floor in. What a fine looking addition to your home. The kids love sliding around on it. Too bad your flooring might make your family sick. If it’s laminate, those simulated-wood floor tiles made of layered plastic, you might be breathing in formaldehyde, a common chemical irritant that triggers asthma and poses long term cancer risks. In a case that’s gotten national attention, Lumber Liquidators was exposed for selling laminate floor tiles that average up to six...+ Read more
Guess who approved the safety of all those chemicals that make up the latest stuff you just brought home from that big box retailer? Nobody. That’s right! Nearly 40 years ago, Congress first passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). But the law proved toothless. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) couldn’t even ban asbestos, which still kills 10,000 Americans every year. Some 62,000 industrial chemicals in commerce were “grandfathered in” without a safety review or testing for health hazards. Only 5 have been partially regulated.+ Read more
In a vote that would make the Grinch proud, the U.S. Senate passed a bill at the height of the holiday shopping season that would make it harder to protect children from imported toys containing toxic chemicals. The Senate bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 must be reconciled with a much different bill approved in June by the U.S. House of Representatives, before final TSCA reform can become law. American families expect assurance of product safety. But the Senate...+ Read more
At a time when safeguards to protect human health are under outrageous attack, your support for our work will turn into impressive wins, just like it did this year. You will fight for the health of children with asthma and allergies that are potentially life threatening, and kids with learning disabilities that put them at a lifetime of disadvantage . . . For baby boys born with birth defects associated with testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and difficulty in fathering a child . . . For first...+ Read more
Grabbing a sandwich or cheeseburger from your favorite deli for lunch shouldn’t mean exposure to toxic chemicals. But a new study has found that Americans who ate food away from home were exposed to higher levels of health-harming toxic chemicals called phthalates (THAL-eights) than those who ate at home. That’s alarming, but probably not surprising. Food prepared in restaurants, fast food chains, and cafeterias is served at the very end of a long industrial supply chain that makes it possible...+ Read more
Pictured above: Andy Igrejas accepts the Frank Hatch Award, for his brilliant coalition leadership and strategic advocacy shaping the overhaul of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), at our 2016 Celebration for Healthy Families. We lost a dear friend, colleague, and extraordinary public health champion this past weekend. Andy Igrejas was all of the above and more, and we’ll miss him greatly. Over these last dozen years, he founded Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and led us in an...+ Read more
The voters have spoken! The recent election results were a vote of confidence in government leadership to ensure that all Americans are healthy and thriving. We know that investment in public health protections—including a safe, toxic-free environment—is the best way to keep health care affordable and to prevent diseases, disabilities, and early death. The electorate also soundly repudiated government leadership that seeks to divide rather than unite us, and that favors petrochemical industry...+ Read more
New PFAS Pollution Concern Spurs Ask for Senate Committee Investigation In their classic critique of the public relations industry, Toxic Sludge is Good For You! , authors John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton take apart propaganda-for-hire tactics. In one chapter, they detail how a devilish euphemism transformed the dumping of sewage sludge into the beneficial reuse of “biosolids.” What the name change failed to cover up, however, are the toxic chemicals, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl...+ Read more
By Gillian Miller, Mike Belliveau, Mike Schade, and Bill Walsh​ Tens of millions of pounds of phthalates annually eliminated from vinyl flooring: That’s the victory our collaborative Mind the Store campaign scored in 2015 after we secured commitments by leading retailers to eliminate phthalates from flooring. We did this by first testing dozens of floor tiles from the nations’ largest home improvement retailers, then reporting the results, and meeting with the companies and challenging them to...+ Read more
As all of us hunker down and do our best to “flatten the curve,” I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. I thank you, more than ever, for your support of the Strategy Center’s work. On my mind, as I work from home and check in with loved ones, is that the coronavirus pandemic is the strongest reminder that I hope any of us will ever experience: prioritizing public health saves lives. When government leaders prioritize public health, they can save lives by helping to protect...+ Read more