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And the Bad Actor goes to…

July 1, 2011

The press release opens

Red carpet events are common in Tinsel Town, but none quite like “The Toxies”. Costumed characters—actors hired to “be” toxic chemicals—emerge from limousines to walk down the proverbial red carpet to receive “awards” for the harm they are doing to the American public.

This year, the Toxies—led by Physicians for Social Responsibility—recognized 10 toxic chemicals that make appearances in most people’s every day lives, even if they don’t know it.

The Toxies educates the public on the hazards of specific chemicals – referred to by scientists for years as “bad actors” – and demonstrates how we can pull together as neighborhoods, workers, businesses and consumers to eliminate them from our lives.

While the award categories may sound similar, these bad actor chemicals are dangerous, ubiquitous, and have nefarious careers. The more we know about them, the more we can adopt programs that push them into immediate retirement and inspire green innovation to protect our health and environment for future generations.

The kind of traits that make a chemical a “bad actor” include:

  • Toxic or poisonous;
  • Causes cancer;
  • Changes genetic material;
  • Interferes with normal reproduction;
  • Disrupts the endocrine system (synthetic hormones);
  • Causes serious eye damage;
  • Causes hyper-reaction in the airways;
  • Causes skin rashes or irritations;
  • Accumulates in the body;
  • Affects fish and other aquatic organisms;
  • Depletes the ozone layer.

The bad actor chemicals featured in The Toxies are by no means an exhaustive list, but they’re a place to start. Once more people recognize the harm they cause, we can take the right steps to eliminate them and fix the system that let them get work in the first place!

Bad actor headshots and resumes:

Naturally, we are focused on which of these pops up in cleaning solutions. One sneaky actor is formaldehyde, which has been a common ingredient in cleaning products since they first went on the market. Lucky for you, legislation has made it tougher to use, but make no mistake: formaldehyde remains a key ingredient in household disinfectants…and in your favorite nail and hair salon. Consider how long you spend in the nail salon or the hairdressers chair each time you visit; averaged out, it’s probably close to an hour a week if you are really committed to your regimen.

Hey MOMSformaldehyde is making a sneaky appearance in your child’s nursery or bedroom…as an out-gas from particle-board furniture. Do you want your child sleeping for up to 12 hours a day in an invisible cloud of formaldehyde, which is also one of three key ingredients in embalming solutions…for dead people.

And MOMS…when you use a formaldehyde-laden disinfectant packaged in a plastic container that makes it easy for you to spray or tug out a disinfecting cloth, now you are combining formaldehyde with its favorite playdate: BPA.

BPA, or bisphenol-A, has found its way not just into the plastics that make up baby bottle and sippy cups but also in the lining of your favorite canned foods…you know, the ones that make it so much easier to get Jack and Jill to eat something while they go through their picky stage.

DADS, don’t think you are immune from BPA either; it is linked to heart disease, cancer, thyroid issues, decreased sex drive, obesity, and autism. Doesn’t sound like a good combination for a happy and healthy life, does it?

The most cited common “offspring” of the Toxies is the BIG C: CANCER.

Fran Drescher, founder of Cancer Schmancer, greets the Toxies.


You see, many chemicals used in the composition or the manufacture of every day products are carcinogenic—ahem, they cause cancer. Yep, science and medicine have linked carcinogens with the mutation of cells, which is the beginning of cancer development in humans. Naturally, regulating agencies and of course the chemical users demand more research to prove conclusively and 100% that what they produce causes cancer.

But there is a simple solution: STOP USING TOXIC CHEMICALS

We know it’s never as simple as that. You…and we…have been using and trusting the products on the market for generations. It’s hard to change…both minds and habits.

Luckily, you can rely on professional home cleaning companies to know the chemical composition of all of their products and processes. Just ask a few simple questions…and expect your cleaner to be open, honest, and even offer extra information:

  • what are the names of the products you use?
  • do your products meet Green Seal Standards and California Proposition 65 regulations?
  • will you show me the manufacturers safety data sheet (MSDS)?
  • who checks behind your company to make sure you are doing what you say?

There are certainly more questions you want to ask your cleaners…especially if your cleaner is YOU! The important part is that you seek out the information…all of the information…to make the best healthy choice for you!

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