Your Body, Industry and The Environment: California Prop 65

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Some people have complained that California is overregulated and tied up in red string. But a rising national green consciousness validates one aspect of California regulation: product safety. In 1986, Californians voted into law Proposition 65: The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Prop 65, as it is better known, requires businesses to inform the stateís public about significant amounts of toxic chemicals in products purchased for the home and workplace or released into the environment. The EPAís Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) annually publishes an updated list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. Prop 65 also forbids the release of these chemicals into sources of drinking water. Businesses are required to note the amounts used and post warnings at sites and on products. It was a proposition that anticipated such product safety alarm triggers as last yearís consumer fears about toys manufactured in China containing lead paint.

By law, 1STOPLighting, Amazon and other lighting merchants are required to give the Prop 65 warning for products that have lead content, namely crystal products. Many manufacturers use lead crystal for chandeliers. In the manufacturing process, they add lead oxide to molten glass to produce a product with higher brilliance. Other common things like Christmas tree lights contain lead in their PVC insulation. For the public, lead exposure may hinder a childís cognitive development and other health problems. But adults, not children, are responsible for the installation, cleaning and disposal of these materials. Please wear gloves or wash your hands after handling these products.

Product Safety isnít just a matter of allowing consumers to make informed decisions about their health. In a larger green context, your personal health belongs to a larger exposure chain. Chemical Body Burden is the accumulation of synthetic chemicals and metals in individual bodies. Even though certain industrial chemicals have been banned from the market for decades, its residue stays in the bodies of both humans and other animals. Mt. Sinai School of Medicineís chemical body burden study found a total of 167 chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects in various combinations and concentrations in healthy participants. Lucy Waletzky, a psychiatrist and environmentalist, participated in the study. She said, ''The body burden just keeps accumulating over our lifetime, and children today are exposed to so much more than we were.''
In a larger chain, chemicals produced in industrialized nations will travel through the ocean and air spurred on and directed by oceanic currents and atmospheric conditions to disparate regions of the globe. Chemical pollutants commonly settle in cold regions like the Arctic North. The pollutants settle into crevices and surfaces of the environment and into the fat cells of animals and humans alike as it travels up the food chain. The exposure doesnít just occur with consumption. Babies are exposed in utero and also through their mothersí breast milk.

In this context, Californiaís Prop 65 is a major watchdog law protecting the heath of the environment and its inhabitants. Although OEHHA does not have information on specific businesses concerning their chemicals, they are a valuable information source with a listserv that you can subscribe to. Itís up to California consumers to inquire with manufacturersí what their warning against and pay attention to disclaimers. Just as many who research into where their food is grown or raised, knowing how your manufactured goods are made are essential to protecting your health, your childrenís and the environment.

About the Author: If you're interested in learning more about California Prop 65, let us at 1STOPlighting help. Check out our blog to find out more and see what we're all about.

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