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The Toxies Awards Recognize Worst Chemicals of the Year

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Thursday March 11th, 2010 | 12 Comments

Millions of people around the world tuned in to last weekend’s Academy Award show, bringing another Hollywood award season to a close. While nabbing an Oscar or Emmy is considered an honor, another lesser known red carpet event took place last weekend where winning an award is not recommended.

The Toxies were held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on March 3, 2010.  Awards were given to Bad Actor Chemicals, chemicals and compounds found in everyday products that affect our health.  There are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals currently registered for use in the United States.  Many of those chemicals have not been adequately tested.  1,400 chemicals in use today that have been studied, have known links to cancer, birth defects and other health-related problems.

Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy(CHANGE) took a tongue-in-cheek approach at raising awareness about chemical’s effects on our health and the environment by hosting the first annual red carpet event.  16 “Bad Actor” chemicals commonly used in California were highlighted during the award ceremony.  In order to be eligible to “win”, the chemicals have negatively impacted the health of Californians by accumulating in the body, causing cancer, eye damage, rashes or hyper-reaction in airways, are toxic or poisonous, have affected fish or depleted the ozone layer.

And the 2010 Toxies Awards go to:

  • Worst Breakthrough Performance – Bisphenol-A (BPA) is found in baby bottles, canned food liners and reusable food and water containers.  BPA, an “estrogen impersonator,” has been linked to infertility, breast and prostate cancer.
  • Worst Breathtaking Performance – Formaldehyde , used for over 150 years, has been found in embalming fluid, fungicide, adhesives, particle board, paints, beauty products and cleaning supplies.  This bad actor has been linked to various types of cancers and asthma.
  • Worst Performance in a School Drama  – Hexavalent Chromium, commonly referred to as Hex Chrome or Chrome 6, starred in the true-life flick, Erin Brockovich.  This known carcinogen holds the record for being the most toxic form of the element chromium.
  • Worst Performance in a Horror Film – Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) is a corrosive and destructive compound found in aluminum, plastics, fluorescent light bulbs, high-octane gasoline, herbicides, pharmaceuticals and other products.  Chronic lung disease can occur after inhalation and splashes of the compound on the skin can be fatal.
  • Lifetime Achievement in Harm – Lead has been found to damage intellectual and behavioral development in children and is commonly found in many products including children’s toys, paint, lunchboxes and more.
  • Worst Long Running Performance – Mercury, known for causing birth defects and nervous system damage, can be found in thermometers, dental fillings, batteries, fluorescent bulbs and other products.
  • Worst Replacement Actor in a Series – Methyl Iodide has been used in the laboratory to induce cancer and as a pesticide.
  • Worst Stripper Performance- N-Methyl Pyrrolidone (NMP) is an industrial solvent used in paint stripper and graffiti remover.
  • Worst Local Performance – Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) is a flame retardant used in furniture, pillows and bedding but can accumulate in people, animals and the environment.
  • Worst Costume – Perchloroethylene, also referred to as Perc, is a chemical used in the dry cleaning process.  Often inhaled by those in the industry, Perc has been linked to kidney, liver, reproductive system damage and can cause dizziness and nausea.
  • Worst Special Effects – Perchlorate is found in airbags, explosives, rocket fuel and fireworks.  This contaminant can interfere with iodide uptake, causing hypothyroidism in mothers and impact development in children.
  • Worst Revival Performance – Perfluorinated Compound (PFC) is used as a repellant in carpet, furniture, clothing, food wrap and in nonstick pans. That flaky, nonstick material can actually accumulate in the body and can cause harm to ovaries, liver, kidney, spleen and other organs.
  • Worst Makeup – Phthalate is used to make plastics more flexible and durable and has been used in children’s toys, vinyl shower curtains, food packaging, vinyl shower curtains as well as nail polish, shampoos, lotions and cleaning products. This chemical has been linked to several birth defects and cancer.
  • Worst Intoxicating Performance – Tolene is an organic solvent that is used in paints, glues, cleaners and nail polish and has been linked to brain damage and birth defects.
  • Worst Underground Performance – Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an industrial solvent that can contaminate drinking water and has been known to cause fetal toxicity, cardiac arrhythmias, impaired immune system function, liver and kidney damage and impaired fetal development.
  • Worst Viral Media Performance – Triclosan, also known as Microban, is a pesticide found in soaps, toothpaste, cleaners and antiperspirants.

CHANGE is a coalition of environmental, policy, health, educational and labor organizations working to regulate toxic chemicals in the state.


▼▼▼      12 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • http://blog.babyganics.com/ Evan

    I like this post because of its being informative and timely. On a side note, formaldehyde is so dangerous, it can actually cause skin asthma.

  • http://changecalifornia.org/ Ansje

    Great article! Let's retire those bad actor chemicals for good. Send a letter to your representatives at bit.ly/b2bpdr.

  • Jody

    Thanks for the great info!

  • Joe Tama

    This is so stupid. Hydrofluoric acid is not found in any of the products mentioned. It is used to make those products as a catalyst or etching agent. The article does not mention how to replace these compounds. There is no science to this at all.

    • MDA

      According to the Centers for Disease Control hydrogen fluoride or hydrofluric acid is found and used to make refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline, aluminum, plastics, electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs. The use of this chemical in refineries does pose the greatest risk of exposure to refiner workers and to near by communities.

  • http://nickpalmer.blogspot.com/ Nick Palmer

    I appreciate the sentiment behind this but the descriptions of many of the chemicals above are highly misleading. Our opponents just have to compare these to the dihydrogen monoxide hoax chemical scare to dismiss our fears unfairly.

    I think the idea of the Toxies is brilliant but you have to stick to reasonably accurate science and statements or else people will not listen and it will actually harm our case. Using the same logic as is seen above, we should only have blunt kitchen knives, or no knives at all, because sharp knives are used in street crime

    • MDA

      This is a popular education piece and I do not think we should be held hostage to “our opponents” The effort to change how chemicals are regulated stands on strong science. When a consumer makes a choice about what products to purchase I do not want to do a risk assessment or have to worry about the weight of evidence. I want to stay away from products that have carcinogens, endocrine disruptors as much as I can.

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  • Joe Tama

    This is so stupid. Hydrofluoric acid is not found in any of the products mentioned. It is used to make those products as a catalyst or etching agent. The article does not mention how to replace these compounds. There is no science to this at all.

  • http://nickpalmer.blogspot.com/ Nick Palmer

    I appreciate the sentiment behind this but the descriptions of many of the chemicals above are highly misleading. Our opponents just have to compare these to the dihydrogen monoxide hoax chemical scare to dismiss our fears unfairly.

    I think the idea of the Toxies is brilliant but you have to stick to reasonably accurate science and statements or else people will not listen and it will actually harm our case. Using the same logic as is seen above, we should only have blunt kitchen knives, or no knives at all, because sharp knives are used in street crime

  • MDA

    According to the Centers for Disease Control hydrogen fluoride or hydrofluric acid is found and used to make refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline, aluminum, plastics, electrical components, and fluorescent light bulbs. The use of this chemical in refineries does pose the greatest risk of exposure to refiner workers and to near by communities.

  • MDA

    This is a popular education piece and I do not think we should be held hostage to “our opponents” The effort to change how chemicals are regulated stands on strong science. When a consumer makes a choice about what products to purchase I do not want to do a risk assessment or have to worry about the weight of evidence. I want to stay away from products that have carcinogens, endocrine disruptors as much as I can.

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  • Proven0187

    I believe you mean toluene . And its a replacement for benzene. I see PCBs or dioxins are not in the list. Why not?

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