Why do American Companies Sell Environmentally Unsafe Products Banned in Other Countries?

As the European Union and other nations worldwide have begun to tighten their environmental standards, manufacturers have begun to use America as a dumping ground for consumer goods that fail to meet other nations' standards for toxic chemical content.

Manufacturers ship wood, toys, electronics, pesticides and cosmetics to the United States containing substances that are banned or restricted elsewhere because they raise the risk of cancer or cause reproductive or neurological damage.

Unlike the European Union, which uses a "precautionary principle" that prescribes protective steps whenever there is scientific evidence of risks to public health or the environment, the U.S. EPA relies on voluntary steps from the industries themselves.

The EPA has not attempted to ban any industrial compounds since its unsuccessful attempt to ban asbestos nearly two decades ago.

Products legal to sell in the United States but not in Europe include toys and nail polishes made with solvents called phthalates, which are reproductive toxins; herbicides and insecticides, including atrazine, endosulfan and aldicarb; and electronic items such as Palm's Treo 650 smart phone and Apple's iSight camera, which contain lead components.



Dr. Mercola's Comments:


As other countries toughen their environmental laws, many products containing highly regulated (or banned) and toxic materials -- such as formaldehyde -- are finding their way to a safer haven; namely, the <st1:country-region>United States</st1:country-region>.

That sad fact alone probably explains the escalating number of incidents involving lead, phthalates and flame retardants and children's products.

<st1:country-region>China</st1:country-region> exported enough hardwood plywood last year to build cabinets for about 2 million kitchens in <st1:country-region>America</st1:country-region>. Thanks to environmental loopholes, however, American consumers may be exposed to wood that emits as much as 30 times more formaldehyde than is allowed in the country where it is produced.

Recent moves by the California legislature last month to measure the presence of designated contaminants its residents absorb will probably gravitate soon to other states. And the state's Air Resources Board is considering tougher formaldehyde standards, comparable to those already in Europe and <st1:country-region>Japan -- w</st1:country-region>hich is great if you live in California, but not so much if you reside elsewhere in the <st1:country-region>United States.</st1:country-region>

That's why I urge you to review this article I wrote about the top 10 toxins hurting your health. And here are some tips on how to avoid them:

  • Buy and eat, as much as possible, organic produce and free-range, organic foods. If you can only purchase one organic product it probably should be free-range, organic eggs.


  • Rather than eating fish, which is largely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, consume a high-quality purified fish oil or krill oil.


  • Avoid processed foods -- remember that they're processed with chemicals!


  • Only use natural cleaning products in your home, and switch over to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them.


  • Remove any metal fillings as they're a major source of mercury. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist.


  • Get plenty of safe sun exposure to boost your vitamin D levels and your immune system (you'll be better able to fight disease).

You also might consider installing a ventillation system in your home if you can. I am moving to a different home shortly and plan on installing one in my home, as indoor air pollution is typically far worse than outdoor pollution, especially when you lock your home tight in the winter to conserve heat.

Basic Functions of Ventilation Systems

Ventilation systems are more than exhaust fans. They serve three important functions:

  • Expel stale air containing water vapor, carbon dioxide, airborne chemicals and other pollutants.
  • Draw in outside air, which presumably contains fewer pollutants and less water vapor.
  • Distribute the outside air throughout the house.
  • Control system operation automatically.

The basic ventilation system has two elements. First, there's a fan to pull stale air out. Pickup points for stale air are generally in high moisture areas, such as the kitchen, utility and bathrooms. Second is the makeup air supply.

Outside air is delivered around the house, with one supply point in each bedroom and at least one in the living area. The suction, also called negative pressure, created by the exhaust fan pulls air through the house from supply points to the pickup points. By properly locating the pickup and supply points, you make outside air travel through the entire house.




+ Sources and References
  • Los Angeles Times October 8, 2006
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