Toxic disasters aren’t so far from home
The story of a West Virginia town changed forever by toxic pollution captured the hearts and minds of Portlanders at the Oregon debut of the documentary “The Devil We Know.” The film tells a disturbing and well-researched story of how a chemical company knowingly dumped a toxic, persistent chemical (PFOA) into the drinking water supply (see investigative reporting on the story).
While the disaster may seem far away, it hits home to know that the same chemical is in nearly all of our homes—and all of our bodies (see details from the Centers for Disease Control).
What’s more, the tactics that the chemical company used to deny responsibility for health harm are at play in federal lawmaking and regulation today.
You can also join Oregon Environmental Council’s Action Network to speak out when the issue hits home here in Oregon, undermining our state’s own chemical safety laws.
So: what else can Oregonians do to prevent disasters like these? How can we protect our own health, even as we hold companies responsible? Here are a few simple things you can do…
- Avoid toxic PFOA chemicals in non-stick cookware; stain-treated textiles, clothes and carpet; and grease-proof food packaging such as microwave popcorn bags
- See more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about avoiding hazardous food additives and hazards in food contact items.
- Check out mindthestore.org for organized consumer actions against toxic chemicals
- Discard scratched or burned non-stick pans
- Use green cleaning recipes
- Reduce the use of cosmetics
- Dispose of paint and varnish responsibly (see more from Metro)
- Dust regularly, remove shoes, and let fresh air indoors (see more green living tips)