Are everyday chemical products safe?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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"Insidious" is the word for the advertising world's assault on our senses. The newest product — from cosmetics to children's toys to lawn care — all claim to make our world better, happier, or drudgery free. 

But are they really safe?

This question is slowly reaching the consciousness of more and more people. Yet it's hard to get above the advertising din, to hear scientific experts raise serious questions about the safety of these products, all designed by the chemical industry.

Dr. Warren Porter, a biologist, environmental toxicologist and researcher from the University of Wisconsin Madison, is deeply concerned about these issues. His research has focused on how pesticide mixtures, at very low levels of concentration, affect/alter developmental processes, immune system functioning, endocrine system functioning and neurological functioning (learning abilities and aggression levels). We are so lucky to have him as our guest speaker. 

Other scientists concur with Porter's warnings: 

Dr. Theo Colborn, author of Our Stolen Future, believes the effects of endocrine disruptors, found in very low doses in chemicals are, especially for the fetus in utero, possibly a more imminent threat to human survival than climate change.

Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus, Purdue University, finds that the three separate patents and uses for Monsanto's Round-Up are making it a more dangerous threat than even DDT.

 Dr. Michael Skinner, Washington State Pullman University, has recently revealed that pesticides and other chemicals may be changing genetic expression and those changes can be inherited for four generations in lab animals.

Mark Shapiro, author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake For American Power, relates that America will become the toxic dumping ground for the rest of the world. The European Union developed a chemical regulatory agency (REACH) in 2006, which prohibits E.U. countries from using many of the chemicals the United States still allows. Other countries are following the E.U. lead. 

Through conversations with friends and family, it seems many don't know what to believe about the effects of toxic chemicals on the health of our children and ourselves. This was the impetus for inviting Dr. Porter to come to Oak Park next week. I hope you can make the time to hear directly from an expert and have your questions answered. Information and petitions will also be available at an action table. 

Monday, June 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Veterans Room at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St.

Peggy McGrath

Oak Park

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