About Healthy Stuff

Healthy Stuff is a project of the Ecology Center. Healthy Stuff tests everyday household items for toxic chemicals and reports on its findings. 

Healthy Stuff is based on research conducted by environmental health organizations and other researchers around the country. The Ecology Center created HealthyStuff.org and leads its research and development. The Ecology Center is a Michigan-based nonprofit environmental organization that works at the local, state, and national levels for clean production, healthy communities, environmental justice, and a sustainable future.

The U.S. government doesn't require full testing of chemicals before they are added to most consumer products. And once they are on the market, the government almost never restricts their use, even in the face of new scientific evidence suggesting a health threat. Because children, adults and pets can be exposed to chemicals from many sources, and because the effects of some chemicals are cumulative, it is important to look at the whole picture concerning chemicals and health. The law that's supposed to do this, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, is outdated, according to the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 2005, the GAO found:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has limited data on existing chemicals including toxicity and exposure information;
  • EPA lacks data to ensure that potential health and environmental risks of new chemicals are identified;
  • Chemical companies are not required to develop and submit toxicity information to EPA unless EPA issues a rule;
  • EPA has used its authority to require testing for fewer than 200 of the 62,000 chemicals in commerce since 1979;
  • For "new" chemicals, EPA estimates that only about 15 percent include health or safety test data; and
  • For existing chemicals, only 5 chemical groups out of 62,000 have been restricted by EPA in 29 years.

For more information on the lack of government regulation of toxic chemicals in products, please see the following reports:

"Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program," U.S. General Accountability Office, June 13, 2005.

"Green Chemistry: Cornerstone to a Sustainable California," Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, 2008.

"Green Chemistry in California: A Framework for Leadership in Chemicals Policy and Innovation," California Policy Research Center, 2006.

News

January 30, 2017
News
The FDA says the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to antibacterial soaps. A new rule goes into effect this September. Find out what their concerns are and what to do in the meantime.
October 25, 2016
News
While the Ecology Center has been working to end childhood lead exposure in Michigan for years, this National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week we joined a coalition of over fifty groups calling for federal agencies to act boldly to eradicate lead exposure on a national scale.
October 10, 2016
Press Release
A coalition of health and environmental groups is calling on Michigan policymakers to end lead poisoning in Michigan. Lead abatement is sound economic investment and a critical public health step for Michigan’s future.
September 28, 2016
News
Coal tar sealants cover a vast majority of driveways, parking lots and playgrounds. They are meant to extend the life of the asphalt underneath. Unfortunately, these sealants contain a hazardous chemical that is a known carcinogen.
Gardeners Beware Report: Why are bee-friendly plants harming our bees?
August 15, 2016
Press Release
A new report reveals bee-killing pesticides in bee-friendly garden plants sold at top retail chains, including in Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Garden Hose
June 17, 2016
Press Release
High levels of toxic lead and phthalate chemicals are still present in many garden and yard water hoses today, according to researchers at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center. The new research also discovered that half of the vinyl (PVC) hoses tested contained electronic waste (e
IMPORTANT NOTE: HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.

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