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Toxic Matters: Links

This page has more information for the tips you read in PRHE brochures.

Over time, websites change and some links may become broken. If you click on a link that doesn't work, please send an email to harlessj@obgyn.ucsf.edu.

For general information on how the environment can impact your health, the following sites can provide reliable information:

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health – The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health is a professional organization of pediatricians who address issues of environmental health and toxic exposure. This site contains policy statements in support of initiatives to protect children of all ages from environmental hazards, as well as newsletters and articles on recent topics in children’s environmental health.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit – The toolkit is a resource for health care providers with reference guides and health education materials for families on preventing exposures to toxic chemicals and other substances that affect infant and child health.

UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment produced a report entitled, "Shaping Our Legacy". This report provides a nontechnical summary of the latest science on how exposure to chemicals may impair our reproductive health. It also outlines what we can do to create environments that are healthier for fertility and reproduction. Downlaod a PDF version of Shaping our Legacy here.

Shaping Our Legacy is also availalbe in Spanish, entitled "Forjando Nuestro Legado: La salud reproductiva y el medio ambiente. Go here to learn more and download a PDF copy of Forjando Nuestro Legado. Downlaod a PDF version of Forjando Nuestro Legado here.

United States Environmental Protection Agency – The U.S. EPA is the federal agency charged with protecting public health and the environment. This site provides a resource on standards and regulations set by the federal government for contaminants in air, water, and land.  It also houses information for the public on the impacts of various pollutants on human health and the environment. Find out what environmental hazards and conditions exist in your neighborhood at the EPA's interactive My Environment web-based tool, or check out their Concerned Citizens Resources.

U.S. EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection Live, Learn, Play - Tune Into Your Health and Environment – This publication provides information and activities for children and families to learn about the connections between health and the environment and ways to protect prevent harmful exposures.

California Department of Public Health Hazard Evaluation System and Information Service (HESIS)  - HESIS uses scientific, medical, and public health expertise to help prevent workplace illness and disease. They evaluate new chemical hazards for the state of California and explain how they apply to workers and employers. This site contains projects and activities relevant to workplace hazards in California.

Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) is an international partnership committed to strengthening the scientific and public dialogue on environmental factors linked to chronic disease and disability. CHE's web site includes: A searchable database that summarizes the links between chemical exposures and approximately 180 human diseases or conditions, and scientist-reviewed papers on the links between chemical exposures and numerous reproductive health diseases and disorders.

Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Environmental Health Institute has curated a large collection of useful tools and resources, some of which are reflected below, for people interested in learning more about the health effects of industiral chemicals.
http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/toxics-tools-and-resources.html 

The CDC's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is a tool that stores data about when and where certain health events, such as birth defects, occur. This information can helps us to understand the relationship between health outcomes, environmental factors, and our actions. Visit the website to learn more about the connection between the environment and health where you live.

Prevent Exposure at Home

Do Not Smoke

National Cancer Institute Smoking Cessation Counseling Information provides resources to help quit smoking and answers to smoking-related questions in English or Spanish.

The National Institutes of Health Smoke Free Women covers smoking-related topics that are often important to women, such as weight management and stress, and tells how to contact experts and find other resources.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Booklet Help for Smokers and Other Tobacco Users provides advic e on quitting smoking and other tobacco products.

The National Cancer Institute's "Harms of Smoking and Health Benefits of Quitting" is a detailed fact sheet (in English and Spanish) with scientific evidence on the health effects of smoking.

American Lung Association's "Stop Smoking"  links to smoking cessation programs for adults and teens, as well as tip for parents on talking to your kids about not smoking.

"Smoking and How to Quit" by womenshealth.gov is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It provides support resources for quitting smoking specific to women.

Use Non-toxic Personal Care Products

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database displays online safety profiles for cosmetics and personal care products; it allows you to search products and rank them according to their health hazard.

The California Department of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program has begun collecting information from manufacturers on ingredients in products sold in California that cause cancer or reproductive harm such as birth defects. Currently, the website has information on emerging issues related to cosmetic toxicity and a list of chemicals for which the state is requesting information from manufacturers. Eventually, a database will be created to allow people to find out if personal care products they use contain harmful chemicals.

Environment California is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization that offers a variety of reports on environmental health topics, including: Toxic Baby Furniture: The Latest Case for Making Products Safe from the Start; The Right Start: The Need to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals from Baby Products; and Toxic Toys.

The California Safe Cosmetics Act requires companies that manufacture cosmetics to report any cosmetics products that contain ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) collects this data and makes it available to the public through its website.

Do Not Use Pesticides

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides is a group dedicated to reducing the use of pesticides by promoting alternatives for urban and rural communities. They have compiled factsheets on a number of pesticides with information about their health effects.

Natural Resources Defense Council’s How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals site provides practical advice to pet owners on non-toxic ways to control fleas.

The U.S. EPA provides information on controlling head lice in schools through their Integrated Pest Management Program for schools (see Chapter 11 of the guide).

U.S. EPA’s Citizen's Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety highlights important non-chemical pest control methods and tips on using pesticides safely.

Columbia's Center for Children's Environmental Health provides a brochure on how integrated pest management in the home can reduce your family's exposure to pesticides. The brochure is available in English and Spanish.

The California Department of Public Health's Occupational Pesticide Illness Prevention Program (OPIPP) has published a new pesticide hazard alert about getting rid of bed bugs safely after reports of illnesses among works who applied pesticides to treat bed bugs and among hotel and maintenance workers who entered rooms after they were treated.

Clean Your Home with Non-toxic Cleaning Products

See the “consumer guides” section below for information and resources on how to find non-toxic products.

The California Department of Public Health’s Work-Related Asthma Prevention Program has produced a series of brochures on how toxic cleaning products can cause or trigger asthma.

Two organizations, EcoLogo, a program under UL, and Green Seal, an independent organization, publish certification standards that define which attributes a safer cleaning product must have to receive their third-party approval.  The California Department of Public Health Occupational Health Branch participated in the development of cleaning product standards. In addition, these EcoLogo and Green Seal criteria cover other health-based attributes, such as toxicity and corrosivity limits and the prohibition of carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, and some endocrine disruptors.

Pick Your Plastics Carefully

Women’s Health and the Environment’s Plastic Products page discusses how you can avoid toxic plastic products in food packaging and other sources.

Choose Safer Home Improvement Materials

Healthy Building Network is an organization committed to transforming the market for building materials to make them healthy and more environmentally-friendly. On their website, you can find information about common toxins found in building materials, and how you can select better alternatives.

U.S. EPA’s Renovate Right brochure contains important information on how to prevent the spread of lead during a home, school, or child care facility renovation.  

Keep Mercury Out of Your Diet, Home and Garbage.

U.S. EPA Fish Advisories list pollutants and chemical contaminants in fish. You can look up information based on where you live to tell you if any advisories exist for your area.

Natural Resources Defense Council’s Mercury Contamination in Fish. A Guide to Staying Healthy and Fighting Back provides advice on how to reduce your consumption of mercury in fish. It also has a tool that allows you to calculate your mercury intake.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has pocket guides and smartphone apps that allow you to make more informed choices about the types of fish you consume.

Avoid Toxic Substances in Food and Water

Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides gives recommendations on which foods to buy organic.

United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a model of food distribution where community members pledge support to a farming organization, and share in the risks and benefits of the harvest. CSAs are local and often use organic methods to produce crops. The USDA site links to publications about CSA and lists locations of CSA farms by state, city, or zip code.

Local Harvest includes a description of how CSAs work and a map of where you can find a CSA farm near you.

A non-profit organization of urban planners and public health professionals called the Public Health Law and Policy created the How to Make Healthy Changes in your Neighborhood  brochure to help communities work with their planning departments to bring changes in local fruit and vegetable supply.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America. This site gives information regarding the regulations of chemicals in drinking water.

Pesticide Action Network’s What’s on My Food? is a smartphone app and database to inform consumers about how much pesticide residue is on their food.

Test Your Home for Radon

U.S. EPA’s A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon is a comprehensive guide to radon hazards and testing in your home.

Prevent Exposure at Work

United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency responsible for assuring that American have a safe workplace. The directory of OSHA regional offices will direct you to your local office that can assist with workplace health and safety issues in your area.

U.S. EPA’s Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides is regulations aimed at reducing pesticide poisonings and injuries to workers in agricultural fields.

Our own Work Matters project is an easy to use, step by step guide to getting educated about workplace exposures and how you can protect yourself and your baby from harm.

The Toxic Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell provides several fact sheets for nail salon workers that range from general information on indoor air quality concerns to how to report an odor complaint.

ChemHAT, the Chemical Hazard and Alternatives Toolbox, is an online database designed by workers to offer up easy to use information that other workers can use to protect themselves, their families and their co-workers against the harm that chemicals can cause.

Prevent Exposure in Your Community

Reduce Your Exposure to Pollution in Outdoor Air

AIRNow’s Local Air Quality Conditions and Forecasts site has a national map of the air quality forecast, with real-time air quality information for over 300 cities. Poor air quality may be hazardous for the elderly or people with asthma; in addition, the air quality forecast can tell you on which days you should avoid prolonged exercise outside.

Become a Smart Consumer: Consumer Guides

Healthy Stuff.org is a project of the Ecology Center (a Michigan-based nonprofit), and has basic information and rankings on a range of consumer products based on research conducted by environmental health organizations and other researchers around the country.

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database displays online safety profiles for cosmetics and personal care products; it allows you to search products and rank them according to their health hazard.

United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Household Products Database is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine. It contains searchable information on household products, manufacturers, ingredients and health effects for everyday items.

Good Guide provides searchable rankings for companies and products. Products are ranked according to health hazard, environment and social responsibility. Good guide also offers a mobile app.

The National Geographic Green Guide website includes buying guides and information on sustainable choices for food, travel, home and garden. The Green Guide publishes a monthly magazine, weekly newsletter, product reports and reviews focused on practical everyday, environmentally responsible and health-minded product choices and actions.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) publishes a variety of reports and policy papers on environmental health topics such as: children's health; health threats and effects; farming and pesticides; chemicals at home, school and work; and science and public policy. They also produce Smart Shopper’s Guides and NRDC’s Smarter Living site has factsheets and how to s for chemical safety and sustainability in your home, school or workplace. The site also has convenient shopping guides that you can download and bring to the store to help you make more informed choices.

The California Department of Public Health’s Safe Cosmetics Program has begun collecting information from manufacturers on ingredients in products sold in California that cause cancer or reproductive harm such as birth defects. Currently, the website has information on emerging issues related to cosmetic toxicity and a list of chemicals for which the state is requesting information from manufacturers. Eventually, a database will be created to allow people to find out if personal care products they use contain harmful chemicals.

Magee-Women’s Hospital at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center video series called "An Introduction to Green Parenting" is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRbCXoZYxhA

Healthy Child, Healthy World has an online resource called Easy Steps to Healthy Home Improvement with tips on reducing exposures to children within the home. Other resources at the Healthy Child, Healthy World site include a Virtual House, which shows where dangerous everyday household products can be found and eliminated, a Resource Room with how-to s, articles and a chemical encyclopedia that provides information on health effects, uses, how we are exposed, statistics and alternatives for a large number of chemicals in commerce.

Make the Government Work for You

You Can Influence Public Policy

USA.gov’s Contact Elected Officials  database provides contact information for U.S. Senators and Representatives, state government officials, and executive branch agencies.

WELL Network is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization of women who are business leaders, professionals, philanthropists, and decision makers within their communities. Through symposia, workshops, and publications, the WELL Network educates and mobilizes their friends, associates, and political leaders about solutions to serious health and environmental problems. These include the presence of dangerous chemicals in our bodies from everyday products, the impacts of air pollution on our families' health, and the immense challenges of climate change to our children and grandchildren.

There are also several patient advocacy organizations that advocate for prevention, treatments, and resources for reproductive health and fertility. These include:

American Fertility Association

Endometriosis Association

International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination

Resolve: The National Infertility Association

The Environmental Health Legislation Database is provided by the National Council for State Legislatures, and tracks state legislation addressing environmental factors that may adversely impact human health or the ecological balances essential to long-term human health and environmental quality, whether in the natural or man-made environment.

Toxic Matters Brochure

View Online or download a printable copy of the Toxic Matters brochure.

Cuestiones de Salud (Toxic Matters – Spanish) Brochure

View Online or download a printable copy of the Cuestiones de Salud (Toxic Matters – Spanish) brochure.


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