A PBS investigative report on the chemical industry by Bill Moyers, set to air Monday, includes a companion website on PBS.org that features Environmental Defense's award-winning Scorecard website as a primary resource. Scorecard provides free, in-depth profiles on 6,800 chemicals, showing the known and suspected health hazards of each, detailing where and how it is used, and noting whether the chemical has actually been tested for health effects. See "About the Chemicals" at www.Scorecard.org/chemical-profiles.
The website also lets users find out about chemical pollution in their own neighborhoods, simply by typing in a zipcode at www.Scorecard.org. "Scorecard is meant to be an antidote to chemical confusion," said Environmental Defense senior attorney David Roe. "It lets you cut through the fog in seconds instead of months."
"One key fallacy about the chemical industry is the assumption that it knows which ones of its thousands of chemicals are toxic," said Roe. In fact, as Environmental Defense found in its groundbreaking Toxic Ignorance study in 1997, even basic health effects information is lacking for most of the top-volume chemicals now in commercial use. The www.Scorecard.org site shows the testing status of thousands of top-volume chemicals.
Following the Environmental Defense study, more than 400 chemical manufacturers agreed to provide accelerated hazard screening for 2,000 top-selling chemicals that they manufacture, in a unique challenge program established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with Environmental Defense and the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now known as the American Chemistry Council).
"The picture is bad enough for chemicals known to be toxic, but until more chemicals are tested, no one can say with certainty how big the picture really is," said Roe.