The Strategy Center Blog

Please read and share our latest thoughts on safer chemicals policy, products, health and disease prevention, biobased manufacturing and the green economy, environmental health and justice, and much more. 

The LEGO Group is investing approximately $148 million for a new LEGO Sustainable Materials Center to be established between 2015 and 2016 with a goal of replacing current materials with sustainable alternatives by 2030. LEGO pieces (they’re called “elements”) are currently made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin. LEGO makes 6,000 tons of ABS plastic each year for its products . According to LEGO, “there is no common definition of a sustainable material,” but perhaps LEGO should...+ Read more
EHSC's Frances Jimenez works with a Blue Hill resident to take a water sample
On a rainy July afternoon, while many stayed indoors, three determined individuals set out on the streets of Blue Hill to educate citizens of the dangers of arsenic and other toxic chemicals that are common in private drinking water wells. Equipped with donated water test kits, discount test coupons, and factsheets, EHSC’s Emily Postman and volunteer interns Frances Jimenez and Jack Martell went door to door distributing information and discussing the importance of getting a drinking water test...+ Read more
Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized this year’s winners of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award . Green chemistry (also known as sustainable chemistry) means designing processes and research in a way that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances. In other words, is there a way to make this without using hazardous chemicals and generating hazardous waste? It’s no surprise that several of the winners this year are biobased manufacturers,...+ Read more
You can’t taste it, smell it or see it, but what you don’t know can hurt you. An estimated 150,000 rural Mainers are slowly being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water drawn from private wells. This silent public health crisis robs our youth of intelligence and causes skin, bladder and lung cancer. Yet only about 45% of Maine households with wells have tested their drinking water for arsenic and other health-threatening contaminants from natural sources such as uranium, manganese, radon and fluoride. Statewide, as many as 1 in 5 wells may produce water that’s unsafe to drink, although in some “hot spots” the danger rate is much higher.+ 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
As we celebrate the 4th of July, I don't have to reach very far to connect today's debate on chemical safety reform with the themes of freedom and independence. That's because right now, a bill before the US Senate would strip away an important right from state governments: the right to protect their own citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals. Let's back up for a moment. There is no doubt that TSCA, the current US law governing chemicals is outdated and ineffective, and requires reform...+ Read more
We agree with the Portland Press Herald’s recent article, “Biobased products seen as vital for Maine’s growth,” (6/21/15) which reported that Maine has the third-highest concentration of jobs in the “biobased products” industry, according to a recent USDA Report. The report is part of USDA’s campaign to promote the biobased products industry, which as the article points out, is just perfect for Maine, where we need to grow good manufacturing jobs using our abundant natural resources. The...+ Read more
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
At Environmental Health Strategy Center, we work for healthy products in a healthy economy. By replacing everyday products made from oil and natural gas with products made primarily from plants, we can cut our carbon footprint and ensure better environmental health. But is “biobased” always better? Not necessarily. In this article , Executive Director Mike Belliveau explores how even biobased can be toxic if the rules of green chemistry and sustainability aren’t followed.+ Read more
Moms and kids march in Washington DC to demand chemical safety reform
You may have noticed the hashtag that keeps popping up wherever there’s discussion about overhauling our national chemical safety law. #RealReform. Compared with the long-lived fight to fix the broken Toxic Substances Control Act, #RealReform is pretty new to the scene. That’s because we’ve spent over a decade getting Congress to pay attention to the need for a system that actually keeps Americans safe from exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products. To help get TSCA reform on the...+ Read more