Health policy and resources

Mom at the store

EDF seeks to safeguard human health by reducing environmental threats, including toxic chemicals and pollution.

Many serious health conditions are on the rise today, including asthma and other respiratory diseases, diabetes, heart disease, childhood cancers and reproductive disorders. Research indicates that exposure to toxic chemicals and air pollution can contribute to these health risks.

For too long, a badly broken law allowed chemicals into everyday products without being shown to be safe. But happily, after many years of work, a new chemical safety law (The Lautenberg Act) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 22, 2016. Things won’t change overnight—years of inaction mean there’s lot of work to do to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of chemicals in use today – but we finally have a chemical safety law that will better protect American families.

And while The Lautenberg Act covers chemicals in thousands of everyday products, other policies that impact chemicals in food or that pollute our air and water, including chemicals like toxic lead in drinking water and household paint, also need urgent attention. The job is far from over.

Safer chemicals

Through strengthening our laws and encouraging responsible corporate leadership, EDF works to replace harmful substances and practices with safer alternatives. EDF fought successfully to reform the badly broken federal Toxic Substances Control Act, which had not been updated for 40 years. EDF is working to ensure strong implementation of that new law, as well as to strengthen regulation of chemicals used in food and improve protections for the millions of kids at risk from lead in their homes. EDF also works with corporate partners, like Walmart and other industry leaders, to remove or replace hazardous ingredients with safer alternatives — promoting safer chemical leadership action defined in the Behind the Label initiative.

Cleaner air

Reducing harmful air pollution, including from coal-burning power plants, will save thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks. These benefits will go hand-in-hand with the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. EDF is working to ensure that people are protected from dangerous pollution.

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