(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2010) Over 40 million Americans watched Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges win the best actress and actor Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards last Sunday. On Wednesday March 3rd, Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) recognized the year’s bad actors, bad chemical actors that is, at the first ever “Toxies.” CHANGE is a coalition of environmental, policy, labor, interfaith and other organizations working to regulate toxic chemicals in the state of California. Held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, the Red Carpet Event featured actors in character as various harmful chemicals. Toxies were awarded to the pesticides Triclosan and Methyl Iodide. The tongue-in-cheek award show was intended to bring awareness to the harmful effect that these chemicals have on human health and the environment. The timing coincides not only with the awards show season, but with the anticipated release of the final draft of regulations for California’s Green Chemistry Programs.
The awards ceremony and accompanying report awarded Toxies to 16 bad chemical actors. The “winners” all affect human health and all have safer alternatives. The 2010 Toxie winners are:
Worst Breakthrough Performance: Bisphenol A (BPA)
Found in plastics BPA has been linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility in men and women, and early onset of puberty in girls.
Worst Breathtaking Performance: Formaldehyde
Linked to asthma as well as several types of cancer, Formaldehyde has been used in fungicides and germicides in addition to embalming fluid and beauty products.
Worst Performance in a School Drama: Hexavalent Chromium
Hexavalent Chromium is the most toxic form of the element Chromium. It is used in wood preservation, stainless steel production, and many other processes. It also “stared” in the 2000 film Erin Brockovich.
Worst Performance in a Horror Film: Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)
HF is found in herbicides as well as pharmaceuticals, aluminum, and plastic, and is a decomposition product of the fungicide Sulfuryl Floride. Skin exposure is often fatal, and HF inhalation can cause chronic lung disease. In the film Saw VI, HF was used to dissolve body parts.
Lifetime Achievement in Harm: Lead
Lead is known to affect intellectual and behavioral development, in addition to causing cancer, infertility, and increased heart attack risk.
Worst Long Running Performance: Mercury
Mercury is released into the air by coal power plants. Many fish populations have such high levels of mercury they are unsafe for human consumption.
Worst Replacement Actor in a Series: Methyl Iodide
Methyl Iodide in a soil fumigant that is being used in place of Methyl Bromide by strawberry growers. Methyl Bromide has been linked to neurotoxic effects and thyroid disease. Before it was approved for agricultural uses Methyl Bromide was used in the lab to induce cancer.
Worst Stripper Performance: N-Methyl Pyrrolldone (NMP)
Used as an industrial solvent and paint stripper NMP has reproductive and testicular effects.
Worst Local Performance: Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE)
PBDE is a flame retardant that impairs attention, learning, and memory.
Worst Costume: Perchlorethylene (Perc)
Perc is used by drycleaners. It can damage the kidneys, liver, reproductive system, and central nervous system.
Worst Special Effects: Perchlorate
Perchlorate is used in rocket fuel, fireworks, and airbags. It is a drinking water contaminant that can cause hypothyroidism.
Worst Revival Performance: Perflourinated Compund (PFC)
PFC is used in nonstick coatings, and can cause harm to the liver, kidney, splenn, thymus, thyroid, pituitary, and reproductive organs. There is no known biological or environmental breakdown mechanism.
Worst Makeup: Phthalate
Phthalate can cause demasculinization to a male fetus, as well as cancer. It is found in perfumes, lotions, shampoos, and cleaning product, as well as plastics.
Worst Intoxicating Performance: Toluene
Toluene is an industrial solvent that attacks the central nervous system. Inhalation leads to a sense of euphoria, but also causes fetal solvent syndrome, whose symptoms are similar to fetal alcohol syndrome.
Worst Underground Performance: Trichloroethylene (TCE)
After being discovered to cause cardiac arrhythmia and fetal toxicity, TCE’s uses in the medical industry were discontinued. It is still used in the defense and aerospace industry. TCE is a ground water contaminant.
And last but certainly not least”¦
Worst Viral Media Performance: Triclosan
Triclosan is an antibacterial found in products ranging from hand soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, household cleaners, even children’s toys. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor. It persists in the environment, decreases the effectiveness of antibiotics, and has many adverse health effects on humans and wildlife. Beyond Pesticides, Food and Water Watch, and over 80 environmental, health and labor organizations petitioned the EPA to Ban triclosan for non-medical applications on the basis that those uses violate federal laws regulating pesticide registration, clean and safe drinking water, and endangered species.
CHANGE admitted that winnowing the list of chemicals was a difficult task. There are over 1400 chemicals in use today that have a link to cancer, birth defects, and other types of damage to human health. Of course it is an honor just to be nominated.
Source: The Toxies Awards Recognize Worst Chemicals of the Year