Pollutions & Toxics

Toxic Chemicals: Impacts

Child on the beach; photo by Laurie MacBrideThere are approximately 55,000 chemicals in use in North America today, with about 1,000 new compounds formed each year. Our society’s reliance on chemicals is more entrenched than ever before.

Did you know:

  • The main sources of human exposure to toxic chemicals are the areas we once thought were safest: our own homes, offices and cars (Scientific American, Feb. 1998).

  • Everyday consumer products pose more of a threat to our health than industrial pollution -- even in highly industrialized cities.

  • Most companies label only the "active" ingredients in their products, not the "inert" ones (substances that help make products work better). These inert ingredients can be even more dangerous than the listed ingredients.

  • Fish and other aquatic life are also affected by what we use in our homes and gardens. Much of the hazardous waste goes down the drain into local sewers or septic systems, or is sent to regular landfills - eventually leaching into rivers, streams and coastal waters.

The good news:

We can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals and their impacts on our environment, by getting informed and making wise consumer choices.

Learn more:


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