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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toxic Toys and Lipstick: Europe thinks it's dangerous, US says "Prove it" ... now Prove it again and again ...

Terry Gross, host of the popular radio show Fresh Air, has a really interesting (and scary) interview with Mark Schapiro about the difference in regulations and philosophy between Europe and the U.S. when it comes to toxic substances in our everyday goods like toys or cosmetics. I urge you to listen to it.

Here's what Fresh Air's website says about it:

Mark Schapiro, Exposing a Toxic U.S. Policy

Fresh Air from WHYY, November 26, 2007 · Investigative reporter Mark Schapiro explains in a new book that toxic chemicals exist in many of the products we handle every day — agents that can cause cancer, genetic damage and birth defects, lacing everything from our gadgets to our toys to our beauty products.

And unlike the European Union, the U.S. doesn't require businesses to minimize them — or even to list them, so consumers can evaluate the risks. Schapiro argues that that policy isn't just bad for public health: In an increasingly green economy, he says, American businesses stand to get shut out of a huge market.

Schapiro, editorial director of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, has written for Harper's, The Nation, Mother Jones and The Atlantic Monthly. His book is called Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, and What's at Stake for American Power.

One of the things that they talk about is how the European Union is a much bigger market than the U.S. This is starting to have a significant impact on businesses here in the U.S. Because if we sell something that doesn't live up to the standards set by the EU, it won't sell in the EU. So, from a purely capitalistic practical point of view ... why don't we change?

Some of the products that have toxic chemicals in them are cell phones and computers.

Really, the show is very interesting. I learned a lot.

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