The Toxies Awards Recognize Worst Chemicals of the Year

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.

As a full-time freelance writer, Jace is the Internet Feature Writer for Suite101 and is the Holidays and Working Moms Examiner for She is a regular contributor for Energy Boom, EcoWorldly and PlanetSave. She particularly enjoys writing about unusual and downright wacky environmental stories and issues plaguing wildlife and animals.Besides writing, Jace is also passionate about online safety and issues concerning children. As an Internet Safety educator, she teaches online safety and technology to 600 elementary-aged children every week for her local school district.Jace has two children who are both in college and is also mom to a slew of pets. Feel free to contact her with story leads or just drop her a note at