Friday, August 23, 2013

Unacceptable Levels, Documentary Film Review by Nancy Swan, Director of Children's EPA



Unacceptable Levels
Film review by Nancy Swan, Director of Children’s Environmental Protection Alliance (Children’s EPA)

Unacceptable Levels, a provocative documentary by filmmaker Ed Brown, addresses the threat from toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants on child health.

 In 2009, Ed Brown started looking into chemicals. 
What he discovered was the largest unnatural disaster in human history. 
He decided to do something about it. 
This is his story. - Unacceptable Levels

Brown embarks on a quest for answers about chemicals that could be affecting the health of his children. What he discovers affects every living creature on the planet.

Through layering confluent visual montages with interviews with dozens of noted scientists and environmental experts, Brown examines the history of the chemical revolution, increasing rates of childhood chronic illnesses, and the shocking array of chemicals in water, food, products, and waste products.  But, if you think this is just one more eulogy-for-the-planet-type documentary, think again.

Unacceptable Levels is entertaining, an educational experience, and a delicious blend of humor, humanity, and hope.  With folksy, but honest charm, Ed Brown shifts brilliantly between history lesson and current science, leading to a rather alarming dilemma - what to do about the sea of toxic chemicals impacting our children’s bodies. 

So, how can we solve this problem?  One of many quotes spotlighted in Unacceptable Levels is this thought-provoking quote by Albert Einstein, "Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."   But, Ed Brown shows that we don’t have to be an intellectual to solve the problem of pervasive, invasive industrial chemicals and we don’t have to be a genius to prevent harm to children.  


Please visit www.unacceptablelevels.com for more information about showing locations, to request a showing in your area, + and to view the full trailer. Unacceptable Levels will soon be available on iTunes and other video-on-demand platforms and will also be released in theaters nationwide Fall 2013.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Unacceptable Levels, Documentary Film Review by Nancy Swan, Director of Children's EPA



Unacceptable Levels
Film review by Nancy Swan, Director of Children’s Environmental Protection Alliance (Children’s EPA)

Unacceptable Levels, a provocative documentary by filmmaker Ed Brown, addresses the threat from toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants on child health.

 In 2009, Ed Brown started looking into chemicals. 
What he discovered was the largest unnatural disaster in human history. 
He decided to do something about it. 
This is his story. - Unacceptable Levels

Brown embarks on a quest for answers about chemicals that could be affecting the health of his children. What he discovers affects every living creature on the planet.

Through layering confluent visual montages with interviews with dozens of noted scientists and environmental experts, Brown examines the history of the chemical revolution, increasing rates of childhood chronic illnesses, and the shocking array of chemicals in water, food, products, and waste products.  But, if you think this is just one more eulogy-for-the-planet-type documentary, think again.

Unacceptable Levels is entertaining, an educational experience, and a delicious blend of humor, humanity, and hope.  With folksy, but honest charm, Ed Brown shifts brilliantly between history lesson and current science, leading to a rather alarming dilemma - what to do about the sea of toxic chemicals impacting our children’s bodies. 

On the topic of brilliance - one of many quotes spotlighted in Unacceptable Levels is this thought-provoking quote by Albert Einstein, "Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."   But, Ed Brown shows that we don’t have to be an intellectual to solve the problem of pervasive, invasive industrial chemicals and we don’t have to be a genius to prevent harm to children.  So, how will non-intellectual, non-geniuses solve this problem?

Though not included in Brown's selection, Albert Einstein also advised, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."  Through Ed Brown’s eyes and ears we also learn from history and through the answers we are given reason to live today better than yesterday.  Unacceptable Levels provides incentive to hope for a better tomorrow - to learn, think, act, and  never stop questioning - for the sake of all our children.

Please visit www.unacceptablelevels.com for more information about showing locations and to view the full trailer. Unacceptable Levels will soon be available on iTunes and other video-on-demand platforms and will also be released in theaters nationwide Fall 2013.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tar Sands Development Adds Growing Concern on Water Use.

The cost of oil to survival may be more than the world can afford to pay.  When you read the following article, keep in mind that the US EPA and CDC have determined that children are more vulnerable to injury and sickness from environmental contaminants that adults.   Levels of pollutants that are considered "safe" by the US, Canada, and other countries are determined by the effects on a mature, health male worker.  As yet, no country has determined levels safe for children, pregnant women, or other vulnerable populations. 

But another serious issue is coming to the fore — the massive amounts of freshwater being used by the industry. In 2011, companies mining the tar sands siphoned approximately 370 million cubic meters of water from the Athabasca River alone, which was heated or converted into steam to separate the viscous oil, or bitumen, from sand formations. That quantity exceeds the amount of water that the city of Toronto, with a population 2.8 million people, uses annually.

With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use by Ed Struzik: Yale Environment 360

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chemical chaos drill a chance to practice response to school disaster


Toxic and flammable chemicals stored and used during school day at Long Beach Schools in Mississippi.

Police, firefighters and medical technicians participated in a 'chemical chaos' drill Friday at Canopy Oaks Elementary. During the exercise, the 'victims' who might have been exposed to hazardous chemicals — played by local Boy Scouts — were rinsed at washing stations and doused with fire hoses. A beat-up Dodge Stratus was the focus of the efforts of the Big Bend Regional Bomb Squad as they deployed a remote-control robot to deal with a bomb situation as part of the event.
By Nancy Swan, Director of Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA)Police, firefighters and medical technicians participated in a 'chemical chaos' drill Friday at Canopy Oaks Elementary. During the exercise, the 'victims' who might have been exposed to hazardous chemicals — played by local Boy Scouts — were rinsed at washing stations and doused with fire hoses. A beat-up Dodge Stratus was the focus of the efforts of the Big Bend Regional Bomb Squad as they deployed a remote-control robot to deal with a bomb situation as part of the event.
Police, firefighters and medical technicians participated in a chemical emergency drill at a Florida school  to practice emergency medical response, rinsing volunteers at washing stations and dousing them with fire hoses.    
 As a result of my chemical injury while teaching school and as Director of Children's EPA, I learned that without identifying and assessing the properties of the spilled chemicals, rinsing off contaminates with water can be dangerous and washing off toxic chemicals is not always an option.  Tragically,  parents,  school officials, school personnel, and those responding to chemical emergencies in schools, are too frequently kept in the dark.  
In a real school chemical or environmental emergency at least three roadblocks threaten not only the safety of schoolchildren and personnel, but also the safety of first responders, including: 
  • failure to immediately identify chemical information to First-Responders, 
  • school and industry non-disclosure policies and accountability failures, and 
  • lack of government chemical and product safety regulation, oversight, and enforcement.  
Toxic product use in schools increasing.
As the need for "green" products and cost-effective renovation rises in US schools, so does the use of untested, imported, and unsafe chemicals.  Spray On Foam (SPF) insulation, roofing, and sealant  SPF is an example one such product which is heavily  marketed to school boards as a "green," and "safe" product to reduce energy costs and environmental friendly.  By using misleading branding such as "Greenguard." , The American Chemistry Council, maintains that SPF, "provides a comfortable, healthy, and safe environment conducive to learning.  The ACC's claim is pure fiction.

In reality, OSHA warns that SPF products
contain Diisocyanate is considered a carcinogen,  and the exposure to SPF is known to cause brain damage and impair learning, cause asthma in otherwise healthy adults, and permanently burn and scar lung and respiratory tissue.  The risk and damage to children is even greater.  Diisocyanate is a class of isocyanate, responsible for half a million deaths and injuries in India.  During SPF application, curing, and with heating and wear can off-gas chemicals highly dangerous to children, including fire-retardant. University of California at Berkeley NewCenter reports, "Prenatal and childhood exposure to flame retardant compounds are linked to poorer attention, fine motor coordination and IQ in school-aged children"

Comfort and cost savings can kill.
Even with fire-retardant, products like SPF can ignite, catch fire, and smolder. Use of polyurethane products in school construction, renovation, equipment has increased, placing children, school personnel, and First-Responders at increased risk for death and injury.   SPF is applied in large areas of schools, like roofing, crawl spaces and in wall insulation and is extremely flammable.

When ignited, SPF releases large quantities of thick, toxic smoke and  cyanide which causes "coma, seizures, apnea, and cardiac arrest, and death following in a matter of minutes." Even with firet-retandants, products like SPF can kill before there is a chance of escape or rescue. The deadly  Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island exposed the dangers of polyurethane foam products.  Despite the known health and environmental hazards of SPF use in schools, ongoing SPF toxic tort lawsuits, and thousands of injured schoolchildren, school districts still opt to install SPF products. 

Danger of ignorance and secrecy. 
The recent deaths of dozens of Fire Fighters at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas evidence the dangers faced when First-Responders are denied the name and property of chemicals involved in the fire, explosion, or chemical spill.  In some instances, water use by Fire Fighters can trigger violent and explosive reaction with many other chemicals, increasing rather than decreasing danger to schoolchildren.  High pressure or sprayed water rinses can not only react, it can force contaminates into lungs, eyes, digestive systems, and can damage skin tissue.  Who is responsible for supplying chemical information?  The answer will shock you.

Emergency responses to chemical disasters and spills are hampered not only by lack of chemical information, but by the lack of state and federal regulation, oversight, and enforcement.  In the wake of the West Fertilizer Plant explosion,  media reported that chemical information had been denied to victims and responders, routinely hidden by chemical companies under the banner of  National Security as "security-sensitive information." Restriction of information is not just practiced by chemical companies.  Schools officials and administrators of chemical facilities near schools are not required to notify parents, staff, or the community of the name and quantity of hazardous chemicals stored, used, or disposed of on or near school property.

In the event of a chemical contamination or spill, school and chemical company non-disclosure policies can interfere with and mislead emergency response, placing schoolchildren at risk. 
  • School officials are not required to warn or notify parents of injured children or first-responders of the name of hazardous chemicals or dangerous environmental agents on school grounds.  
  • School officials can and do hide school chemical and environmental injuries from parents and the community by exploiting child privacy laws under (FERPA).  
  • Parents and media personnel who attempt to expose child injuries at school are intimidated into silence by school officials who initiate legal proceedings under guise of  FERPA. 
  •  School officials can threaten personnel with non-renewal of employment contracts to discourage reporting of chemical incidents and injuries. 
"Green" and "Safe" schools can be toxic.
Due to recent public pressure, the EPA and CDC ATSDR have finally publicly acknowledged what the these public health and environment agencies
No safety tape to protect children, no warning to parents
have known for a long time, that children can be harmed by a larger number of chemicals and at significantly lower exposure levels than adults.

Despite publication of child vulnerability to chemical injury, federal officials and politicians often declare an area, building, or disaster area "safe" for families, without sufficient science to back their claim.  Adding to the confusion, US health and environmental agencies attach "green"  to products, some of which are also identify as "toxic."  In short, "green" doesn't mean a product is safe,  and "safe" doesn't mean a product or environment is safe for children.  

Lesson in Toxic Politics.
President Obama's response to the BP oil spill is such an example.  In the wake of the BP oil spill Obama visited state along the Gulf of Mexico and voiced his commitment to improve economic health of  Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida and to protect fish and wildlife.  No mention was made by Obama concerning the effect of the BP oil spill on the health of people, children, or clean-up crews.  Instead, President Obama, in an effort to boost tourism, then declared the Gulf Coast beaches and food from the Gulf as safe.  Obama then encouraged "Americans to come down to visit the area’s beaches," and declared, “Seafood from the gulf today is safe to eat." The President did not mention that his administration had no child safety standards, and no scientific data to determine if beach water, food, or contaminate levels were "safe" for American children.  In short, President Obama's
Clean-up and warning signs on Gulf beaches.
sacrifice of child health to boost economic health was wrong.  Dead wrong.     

Obama recommended that families vacation on Gulf beaches.  Note the BP oil spill clean-up crews.  Would you risk your child's health to boost the economy of a disaster area?
 Even US agencies are guilty of greenwashing products, some of which they also identify as "toxic."  These agencies also admit that products or environmental conditions determined as "safe"can be dangerous to the health of children.  Basically, "green," "safe," and "non-toxic," have little to no meaning when it comes to protecting the health of children. Confused?  So are school boards and purchasing agents.  Due to conflicting, misleading, and false claims by government and industry, school boards and purchasing agents are easy prey to advertisers who label their products "green" and "safe."

Who is in charge of protecting schoolchildren?
The most important information for parents to know - before a chemical spill or contamination at or near their child's school - is that there are no federal child safety standards or reporting systems.  The CDC and NIOSH admit advertisers of toxic chemical products, including SPF, fraudulently use words "green" and "safe"  Despite that, no one is in charge of protecting kids from hazardous chemicals and environments, particularly in schools.  

OSHAEPA, and the CDC are not charged, authorized, or funded to protect schoolchildren. No one, not even the US President, can truthfully say that a disaster area is safe for kids and women, or that a product, food, or chemical is safe for families.  There is no "yard stick" to use for measurement --no safety standards for children. Protecting children from chemical spills at school and home, and responding to fires, disasters, and chemical spill emergencies is roadblocked by confusion, and array of misinformation and conflicting statements from both industry and government agencies about what is and what is not safe for kids.

First responders have no guidance either. No government agency, including EPA has set standards of chemical safety to protect child health or to determine safe exposure levels for children.  Which is why President Obama had no science to back his claim that the Gulf waters and beaches were safe for families.  OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)  sets chemical and environmental safety standards limited to protect mature, healthy, male workersOSHA regulates safe working conditions for employees of chemical companies and applicators  OSHA regulations do not apply to first-responders, "bystanders," or children who are not employees and therefore not protected by any local, state, or federal agency safety regulations

What if school officials claim a product or application is safe to use around schoolchildren?
No one except a pediatric toxicologist can answer that question.  School officials and advertisers cannot make that claim without a scientific, unbiased pediatric toxicology study to back it up. 
US safety regulations and warning labels on chemical products apply only to adult male workers, not to women, not to occupants of buildings, not to non-workers in the vicinity who could be exposed to the chemicals, and do not apply to children.  There are no chemical safety standards to warn if a chemical is hazardous to infants, children with illnesses, or fetuses of pregnant women, who are extremely vulnerable to chemical injury.  So, if there are no safety standards, how can you determine if your child's school is safe from chemical and environmental toxins?
Middle school location across street from West Fertilizer Plant explosion
You can't. 
Despite West Middle School's very unwise location just across the road from the doomed West Fertilizer Plant, parents were kept in the dark about chemicals that could harm schoolchildren within the plant plume area.   Unfortunately, school-zone property is often allocated near industrial areas and roadways within reach of chemical and toxic product exhaust plumes and spills.  If you suspect your child may have been exposed to or injured by chemicals at school, on school grounds or and property, asking help and chemical information from school officials is an experience out of the dark ages.   

Toxic chemical information kept out of reach of adults.
One mother found out the hard way.  Tennessee's Williamson County School District continues to encourage parents of elementary students to join their children during lunch.   The Tennessee representative of Children's EPA was shocked to find her child along with other five-year-old children cleaning tables in the cafeteria with pesticide.  She wrote a respectful letter then verbally appealed to school officials to discontinue child application of the pesticide.  Her letter included EPA's advisory that the cleaner was identified as a "pesticide," and include a copy of the product label warning the product was to be "stored out of reach of children."  The mother continued her appeal for more than two years.  When her final appeal failed, she organized a group of parents to enlist their support, unprepared for what would happen.

Williamson County School Board's response was to threaten the mother with prosecution under FERPA and barring her from entering school grounds.  This case, and others involving chemical exposure and injury, in which delayed action or access to chemical information, misinformation, and intimidation by school officials can impair emergency response and intervention, furthering harm to children.  Parents of exposed and injured schoolchildren are left scrambling and begging to government agencies to help them, eventually wondering what went wrong and who to listen to.  Those who persist discover that the government can't help protect schoolchildren, and chemical companies can hide behind non-disclosure laws, and school officials can refuse to provide information.  Who should parents listen to?

Alarm bells that don't sound.
Don't wait for others to sound the alarm that toxic chemicals were used at school or make the tragic mistake of assuming a child is safe because they are on school grounds.  Listen to your child first.  Believe your child rather than interrogate them.  If something didn't smell right, burned their eyes or skin, or fumes made them sick, don't be afraid to interrogate school officials, but get their answers in writing.  Unexplained sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, rashes, breathing or sinus problems, or fainting may be a result of poor air quality, presence of toxic chemicals or substances, solvents, or industrial-grade cleaning agents.  

If you pose questions to school officials, know that school officials are not required by any law or regulation to inform parents when their schoolchild has been exposed to or injured by dangerous conditions.   While school officials are quick to run to their lawyers for protection, they are slow to inform parents about school related injuries, knowing that parents typically give up and tend to believe information given by the school or media, even if it is obviously wrong or misleading. Don't give up and don't give in.

Lessons in deception.
What gives school officials the license to deny chemical and environmental information to parents? Answer: There are no Government agencies or laws to prohibit school officials from:
  • covering-up exposures and injuries to children,
  • denying parents chemical/environmental  information, 
  • giving misleading, untruthful information about child injuries, especially if the information could be used for litigation,
  • using child privacy laws to hide child injuries, 
  • absolving themselves of accountability through Sovereign Immunity, and
  • utilizing school board attorneys and legal fees, though paid by taxpayers, to enable protection for school officials while denying information to parents.
Federal agencies absent from schools.
If your child has been exposed to or injured by chemicals at school and school officials deny or give wrong information, which federal agency can you contact for help?

Answer: There are no government agencies authorized or funded to: 
  • investigate the event, record, and report school injuries,
  • require schools to report chemical or environmental incidents to parents and community,
  • limit or prohibit application, storage, or disposal of hazardous chemicals on or near school property,
  • determine after a chemical spill if school property is safe for children,
  • help parents with pediatric toxicology and chemical terminology, and 
  • protect children, parents, or staff who expose unsafe conditions at schools from harassment, intimidation, loss of employment, or defamation. 
Toxic schools endanger children.
In 1985, I was seriously and permanently injured while teaching in Long Beach
SPF being sprayed on school during school day
School District in Mississippi. The Spray on Foam (SPF) roof insulation and sealant product that had been applied during the school day also injured two dozen schoolchildren. I notified parents to locate injured children and supplied parents and the community with chemical information.

As a result, Long Beach School District School Board demanded that I tender a statement from my physician certifying I was well enough to teach, knowing that I could not.  No other teacher had been forced produce a doctor's certification after illness or injury.  But I was too sick to teach, so my paycheck was withheld and I was fired. 

School fails grade in safety for children and personnel.
No first- aid station facility had been set up and no emergency care was provided for injured children, though recommended by OSHA for workers.   The school and contractor (MIRI Roofing, Jim English, owner)  attempted to cover up the chemical spill and the injuries, denied through the media  that tankers of toxic chemicals had been stored for two weeks next to the cafeteria, then denied that toxic chemicals had been applied during school hours.

School office personnel further denied both chemical information to parents who requested it, denied emergency medical attention to the injured, and denied seriously injured students permission to call their parents for help.  To protect their own liability, school officials refused to pay or reimburse injured teachers and parents of the injured children for medical bills arising from the chemical spill.  We soon discovered why no local, state, or federal agency would investigate or help.

Today, twenty- eight years after the injuries at my school from SPF, schoolchildren are no safer.  Due largely to secrecy surrounding school chemical incidents, school exposures and reported injuries to schoolchildren and personnel from SPF application have increased.  Chemical injuries are not limited to SPF.  A large number of toxic chemicals are being manufactured and used in schools and on school playgrounds and sports areas.  The proliferation of conflicting information and laws adds to the confusion about safety of toxic chemicals storage, use, and disposal near children.
Leaking SPF tanker parked outside school cafeteria

Green products that can kill and seriously injure kids.
Spray On Foam (SPF) roofing, insulation, sealant and other products are manufactured on-site which means that the company is exempt from safety regulations that pertain to factory manufacture.  SPF and other toxic products are heavily marketed to schools boards  with colorful ads deceptively labeling SPF a "green," and "safe" energy-saving choice. 

Conflicting claims by federal agencies often add to the confusion about what is safe to use around schoolchildren. Although the EPA warns SPF fumes and off-gassing endanger child health and can cause serious and permanent injury to schoolchildren,  LEEDS and FEMA endorse use of SPF application in schools.  It gets even worse.

Chemical factories sited in our nation's schools.
Basically, SPF and poured poly-resin flooring are two of many reactive chemical manufacturing processes done on-site in school buildings on school property, and often applied when children are present or present during incomplete curing and off-gassing of products.

On-site manufacture of toxic products in schools like SPF is not regulated or restricted by any state in the US, or by the US government.   SPF application is common in schools and is particularly dangerous because its principle chemical is one of the most deadly chemicals manufactured, is violently reactive to water, can be explosive, and is a deadly fire hazard.  Despite the dangers to children from Spray On Foam insulation, ads tout that SPF is a "green," "non-toxic" product frequently purchased by school boards.    

Earlier this year, health risks inherent from on-site manufacture of SPF prompted both the Connecticut House and Senate to voted unanimously in favor of House Bill 5908, to require state safety certification of SPF applicators.  The Bill was spearheaded by Connecticut homeowner, Richard Beyer, who testified before the Committee.  But, just when passage of H.B.5908 looked promising, it was vetoed by Governor Dan Malloy.  Malloy claimed he was protecting public health by favoring no regulation of the chemical industry instead of some regulation.  Political smoke and mirrors. 

First aid for school chemical emergencies.
Granted, governors, school officials and personnel are not trained in child toxicology.  But, those charged to provide a safe learning environment need to abide by the commitment of their office, to be held accountable for chemical and environmental safety for schoolchildren.  Chemical and product safety labeling should provide guidance, advisories and warnings to protect children who may or may potentially be in the vicinity during application and to prohibit storage, application, manufacture, and disposal of toxic substances on or near school property.  Government agencies must be charged and funded to provide guidance, oversight, and enforcement to prevent chemical contamination and spills at or near schools.

A prepared and coordinated emergency response to a chemical spill or dangerous environment seems like a good public relations campaign and exercise to prepare First Responders.  Unfortunately, the sense of security and preparedness gained by such an exercise is undermined by the very agencies who have consistently failed to protect kids.  Rather than concentrate all efforts on emergency response, prevention of chemical and environmental injuries at school is better. Much better. 

Nancy Swan
Director, Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) http://www.childrensepa.org
Toxic Justice: A Teacher's True Story of Toxic Injury and Battle For Justice  http://www.toxicjustice.com
Twitter:@ToxicJustice
Facebook:  Children's EPA
Facebook: Toxic Justice 
Tags: Obama environment,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Malloy Vetoes First Bill Of 2013; Would Have Required Regulations And Safety/Certification Standards For Spray Foam Insulation

Would you do anything to protect your child from death and serious injury? Take a few minutes and read the following. Connecticut has led the nation in environmental and chemical regulations and tried to protect consumers from inept, untrained, and negligent Spray Polyurethane Foam applicators.
So, what went wrong last Monday?

CT HB 5908 would have been the first state to protect consumers from untrained, inept, and negligent Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) applicators by establishing standards of applicator certification and regulating the spray polyurethane foam insulation industry.  The EPA warns that asthma in schoolchildren has been caused by exposure and off-gassing from Spray Foam Insulation.  SPF principle component - isocyanate - is one of the most toxic and deadly chemical manufactured. 
Safety certification of SPF applicators is critical because

SPF is heavily marketed to school boards as a "green solution" to rising energy costs and applied onto and into school buildings with children present and without any safety warnings.  For more than thirty years, exposure to SPF has caused children and teachers serious and permanent respiratory and brain injury, and is known to cause cancer.  And yet, SPF industry claims their product programs leads to Healthy Schools for Healthy Children. Perhaps Governor Malloy wants us to believe that line as well. 

Application of SPF on Long Beach Schools in Mississippi 
Why is SPF so dangerous? Foam products are usually manufactured in strictly controlled factory settings. But SPF insulation is manufactured "on-site" by applicators in and on consumer's homes and businesses: attics, wall spaces, and on roofs.  Governor Malloy may not been aware that SPF also contains fire retardants, yet produces thick toxic smoke if ignited. 

Although the photos in SPF advertisements depict applicators wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus, the photo to the left is closer to the truth. School children were present and sitting beside open windows directly below applicators.  I wonder if Governor Malloy would have allowed SPF applicators to hose down his children with toxic chemicals?

Applicator safety is protected by OSHA, but employees of businesses, homeowners and their children have no agency to protect them from the off-gassing, over-spray, and contact with deadly chemicals released by SPF application.  HB 5908 was passed unanimously by both the CT House and Senate. But why did CT Governor Dan Malloy veto Bill 5908?

Governor Malloy used an effective trick common with politicians - deception. He hid his support of the chemical industry by claiming HB 5908 didn't go far enough to protect the public health. In other words, no regulation is better than some regulation. The millions of dollars paid by chemical industries each year in dark money to bribe politicians with hidden campaign contributions paid off.  Governor Malloys veto is classic smoke and mirrors politics.  Let's look look closer at Malloy's veto.

Hair dressers are required to have safety certification and state licensing to apply hairspray. But applicators of Spray on Foam roofing and insulation containing one of the most dangerous and deadly chemicals manufactured are not required to have certification and safety licensing to spray onto and into homes, schools, and daycares?  In fact no state in the US requires safety certification of SPF applicators.  Had the governor of my state, Mississippi, passed a similar bill, I and the children at my school would not have been injured by these chemicals.

In 1985 was seriously and permanently injured by Spray Foam Insulation when a non-trained
applicator sprayed these chemicals on the Long Beach School District where I had been teaching. I was an award winning athlete and teacher until SPF applied during the school day left me and more than two dozen children and teachers fighting to breathe.

Spray foam insulation was proven to have caused my severe asthma, resulted in surgical removal of almost all my sinus tissue, scarred my lungs, burned my eyes, causing early onset cataracts, and damaged my brain and peripheral nerves. The Spray Foam industry never disputed my injuries from their product.  http://www.toxicjustice.com

The next injury from SPF in Ct will have the fingerprints of Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy.

If Governor Malloy's veto angers you, please comment on the article linked below instead of commenting on this Facebook update. Chemical lobbies are buying up politicians who pretend they are protecting the public health.

Children are harmed by chemicals and poor environment because their parents remain silent.  Despite ease and availability of texting, computer and cell phone access to the internet, responsible adults have failed to take charge of their government and the protection of public health. Its your turn to say something to change this.


Commenting is easy and does make a difference.  Please share this post. I wish someone had done this for me. 

Hartford Courant, Capital Watch <http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/malloy-vetoes-first-bill-of-2013-would-have-required-regulations-and-safetycertification-standards-for-spray-foam-insulation/>

Gov. Dan Malloy vetoed his first bill of 2013 on Monday, saying rather than have the state develop regulations and safety standards for spray foam insulation in homes, he would encourage installers to “obtain training, credentialing or certification under programs … developed on a national basis.”
House Bill 5908, “An Act Concerning Safety and Certification Standards for the Spray Foam Insulation Industry,” sailed through both the House and Senate without any “no” votes or controversy; the House voted 145-0 on April 24, and the Senate 34-0 on May 30. . .

Read more: http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/malloy-vetoes-first-bill-of-2013-would-have-required-regulations-and-safetycertification-standards-for-spray-foam-insulation/#comment-129615
Thank you,
Nancy Swan, Director of Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Healthy Schools Day Proclamation in the state of Tennessee April 30, 2013 signed by TN Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signs Healthy Schools Day Proclamation in the state of Tennessee in honor of National Healthy Schools Day, April 30, 2013.    Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA), Children's EPA Director Nancy Swan, and Children's EPA TN Chair Daniela Kunz sponsored this proclamation.

Tennessee governors have signed Healthy Schools Day Proclamations for the last four consecutive years, endorsing the EPA Tools for Schools Program and healthy indoor air quality and safe environmental and chemical practices in all Mississippi schools.  Please thank Governor Haslam <http://www.tn.gov/governor/contact.shtml>

For ten years parents, teachers, school nurses, custodians, advocates, and agencies have promoted National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide. Whether you are at the beginning stages of investigating school environments or have an established Indoor Air/Environmental Quality program, we invite you to host a local activity that educates others and celebrates your school’s successes.
National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in cooperation with US EPA and promotes the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools guidance as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health--  Healthy Schools Network

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signs Healthy Schools Day Proclamation in the state of Mississippi

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signs Healthy Schools Day Proclamation in the state of Mississippi in honor of National Healthy Schools Day, April 30, 2013.    Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) and Children's EPA Director Nancy Swan sponsored this proclamation.

Mississippi governors have signed Healthy Schools Day Proclamations for the last four consecutive years, endorsing the EPA Tools for Schools Program and healthy indoor air quality and safe environmental and chemical practices in all Mississippi schools.  Please thank Governor Bryant.

For ten years parents, teachers, school nurses, custodians, advocates, and agencies have promoted National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide. Whether you are at the beginning stages of investigating school environments or have an established Indoor Air/Environmental Quality program, we invite you to host a local activity that educates others and celebrates your school’s successes.
National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in cooperation with US EPA and promotes the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools guidance as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health--  Healthy Schools Network

Healthy Schools Day in Alabama April 30, 2013, signed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley in honor of National Healthy Schools Day

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signs Healthy Schools Day Proclamation in the state of Alabama in honor of National Healthy Schools Day, April 30, 2013.  Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) and Children's EPA Director Nancy Swan sponsored this proclamation.

Alabama governors have signed Healthy Schools Day Proclamations for the last five consecutive years, endorsing safe and healthy indoor air quality and safe environmental and chemical practices in all Alabama schools.  Please thank Governor Bentley for this  Healthy Schools in Alabama Proclamation. <http://governor.alabama.gov/contact.aspx

For ten years parents, teachers, school nurses, custodians, advocates, and agencies have promoted National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide. Whether you are at the beginning stages of investigating school environments or have an established Indoor Air/Environmental Quality program, we invite you to host a local activity that educates others and celebrates your school’s successes.
National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in cooperation with US EPA and promotes the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools guidance as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health--  Healthy Schools Network






Sunday, April 28, 2013

City of Mobile Alabama Mayor Sam Jones Proclaims April 30 National Healthy Schools Day


Mobile, Alabama Mayor Sam Jones presents National Healthy Schools Day 2013 Proclamation on behalf of the City of Mobile to Nancy Swan, Director of Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA)
Please thank Mayor Jones <http://www.cityofmobile.org/cityofficials/mayor.php>
For ten years parents, teachers, school nurses, custodians, advocates, and agencies have promoted National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide. Whether you are at the beginning stages of investigating school environments or have an established Indoor Air/Environmental Quality program, we invite you to host a local activity that educates others and celebrates your school’s successes.
National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in cooperation with US EPA and promotes the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools guidance as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health.

Thank you, Mayor Sam Jones and the Mobile City Council for your continued support and recognition of National Healthy Schools Day, April 30, 2013.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Proposed Connecticut House Bill 5908 -To protect the health and safety of spray foam insulation installers and their customers,

Introduced by: General Law Committee,  referred by House to Committee on the Environment on April 4, 2013

To monitor status of this Bill: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB05908&which_year=2013
Proposed Connecticut House Bill 5908: an act concerning safety and certification standards for the spray Foam Insulation Industry.
SPF application on Long Beach Middle School (Mississippi). Applicators were not trained and  not certified to provide safe application. As a result, more than two-dozen children and teachers were seriously and permanently injured.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Spray on Foam roofing and insulation industry has been named by the US EPA and major health organizations as responsible for injuring schoolchildren, employees, and homeowners for more than thirty years, yet no state or federal government has succeeded in regulating this powerful and reckless industry.
The SPF industry continues to exploit a regulatory loophole which causes tens of thousands of injuries and deaths - each year.  Storage of deadly chemicals and their use in the manufacture of products and safety of employees is regulated only in manufacturing facilities.  However, SPF are transported off-site where manufacture of the foam takes place in individual homes, businesses, day cares, and schools.  

Odd as it may seem,  SPF applicators are not required to be certified in the safe storage, manufacture or application of one of the most deadly chemicals manufactured - isocyanate. SPF sellers are too eager to make a profit and applicators are "intermediaries."  

The Intermediary Defense is a legal term used to manipulate the judge and confuse juries by pointing the finger of blame at each other- the manufacture or the applicator- so that neither is held accountable for injuries. 

As a result the failure to regulate the SPF industry, innocent consumers and inhabitants of these buildings are not warned of the known and potential health dangers caused by SPF, no first aid is provided, and injury and death end up drawn out in civil court for sometimes fifteen or more years, like my case.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing, Spray on Foam roofing and insulation, and Spray on Foam sealant have been heavily marketed to school boards around the world for the last 30 years as a "green solution."   A bill has been introduced in Connecticut to regulate the use of Spray on Foam products.  
Get involved: 
  • If you live in Connecticut, call your lawmaker to support CT H. B. 5908.  Find you CT Representative, Senator - <http://www.cbia.com/ga/get_involved/contact_ct_legislators/>
  • If you live outside Connecticut, write a letter in support of federal SPF regulation to President Obama using the CT Bill 5908.  
  • Ask national and state health and environment organization to fax a letter of support to CT House Committee on the Environment.   Write Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy to support Proposed CT House Bill 5908 <http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/site/default.asp>
http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
  • SPF is not "green." The terms "Green" and "Green solution" are not regulated by USA and most other countries, and therefore have no useful meaning to school boards or to the consumer.  "Green" and "Green solution" are product and advertiser hype words only.  Spray on Foam products may help to reduce energy consumption, 
  • SPF is not safe.  SPF causes cancer,  serious and permanent burns and scarring of respiratory tissue including lungs, and brain and nervous system damage.  SPF application and off-gassing increases a children's exposure to deadly, asthma causing, and cancer-causing chemicals.  
    The SPF industry has failed to self-regulate to protect both its workers and to protect consumers from one of the most dangerous chemicals manufactured- isocyanate.
Sale and use of this product needs to be tightly regulated throughout the USA and other countries.

Spray on Foam products seriously and permanently injured me and more than two dozen children at the school where I had been teaching.  
Toxic Justice - Nancy Swan (See photo above)
This tragedy is happening in every city and in thousands of schools, homes, and businesses across the USA. 
How can you prevent this product from harming you or your child? You can't.  Applicators are not required to issue warnings or advisories.  But we can start by supporting CT Bill 5908, to be the first state to require safety certification for SPF applicators.
After watching the following video, please visit http://www.childrensepa.org/ 
Bill to regulate Spray on Foam use in Connecticut http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
Tags: SPF, Spray Polyurethane Foam, SPF Insulation, Spray On Foam, Spray On Foam Roofing, Spray on Foam Sealant, Spray on Foam products, School Board, Brain damage, Asthma, Green Solution, Green, Connecticut, WTIC, Homeowners, insulation, Children's EPA, Toxic Justice, legislation, environment, health, children's health, asthma, brain damage, respiratory irritant, cancer, American Chemical Council, EPA, CDC, Connecticut, H. B. 5908, chemical safety, OSHA, FEMA, NIOSH, CDC

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mississippi Jackson County students sickened by crystals thought to be candy

Below is the link to a Sun Herald newspaper article about school children injured by ingesting crystal they were told was candy, but was actually a part of a science project.

This frightening poisoning of school children stresses the need for stronger regulation of hazardous chemicals on school grounds. Even more frightening is that schools in Mississippi are not required to warn parents of hazardous chemicals and cancerous conditions on school property. Nor are schools required to inform parents if children have been harmed by dangerous chemicals and poor environmental conditions.

Readers of the article below should note that vital information was omitted or missing concerning the source of the chemicals ingested, the name of the chemicals, and other vital health information needed by parents.

Rumors abound when viable information is withheld from parents and the community and not given in a timely manner. Failure to provide chemical and health information further threatens the health of children.


I was injured while teaching in Long Beach School District in Mississippi. More than two dozen children were injured as well. Chemical information was withheld from the public at that time, including that the cancer causing chemicals also caused brain damage and asthma.
Mississippi parents should be outraged when school districts withhold valuable information that affects the health of children and staff members.
Nancy Swan
Director, Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA)
Join Children's EPA on facebook, Children's EPA (Children's Environmental Protection Alliance)

Jackson County students ingest crystals thought to be candy

ead more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/02/27/4495472/jackson-county-students-ingest.html#storylink=cpy
Twenty-one students and two adults at St. Martin Upper Elementary School ingested aluminum potassium sulfate crystals that were mistakenly thought to be candy, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said today.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/02/27/4495472/jackson-county-students-ingest.html#storylink=cpy
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/02/27/4495472/jackson-county-students-ingest.html

Sunday, February 24, 2013

SPF Spray on Foam roofing and insulation injuring school kids and homeowners

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing, Spray on Foam roofing and insulation, and Spray on Foam sealant have been heavily marketed to school boards around the world for the last 30 years as a "green solution."   A bill has been introduced in Connecticut to regulate the use of Spray on Foam products.  If you live in Connecticut, call your lawmaker to support this bill. 
http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
Spray on Foam products may help to reduce energy consumption BUT SPF increases a children's exposure to deadly, asthma causing, and cancer-causing chemicals.
Spray on Foam is a dangerous product which if properly or improperly applied, cured, and maintained can seriously injury or kill you or your child. 
The terms "Green" and "Green solution" are not regulated by USA and most other countries, and therefore have no useful meaning to school boards or to the consumer.  "Green" and "Green solution" are product and advertiser hype words only.
Sale and use of this product needs to be tightly regulated throughout the USA and other countries.

Spray on Foam products seriously and permanently injured me and more than two dozen children at the school where I had been teaching.  
Toxic Justice - Nancy Swan 
This tragedy is happening in every city and thousands of schools across the USA. 
How can you prevent this product from harming you or your child? 
After watching the video below, please visit http://www.childrensepa.org/ 
Bill to regulate Spray on Foam use in Connecticut http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?freewheel=91060&sitesection=WTIC_hom_non_fro&VID=24462819
Tags: SPF, Spray Polyurethane Foam, SPF Insulation, Spray On Foam, Spray On Foam Roofing, Spray on Foam Sealant, Spray on Foam products, School Board, Brain damage, Asthma, Green Solution, Green, Connecticut, WTIC, Homeowners, insulation, Children's EPA, Toxic Justice, legislation, environment, health, children's health, asthma, brain damage, respiratory irritant, cancer 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Call today, February 20 to keep lung health from federal spending cuts

Call Your Representative today: Save Vital Lung Health Programs
Its easy and will make you feel good that you helped

Please join the American Lung Associations request to call your representative today, Wednesday, February 20, with others across the country for the American Lung Association's Fiscal Cliff Call-in Day:
http://action.lung.org/site/R?i=tzScP03QGe3D72PsdfMeug

  Call your Representative today to urge a stop to the automatic cuts to federal programs that matter most to lung health:

http://action.lung.org/site/R?i=mpDds-cgw7PrpdEEfKWfxQ

The more calls we make, the bigger the impact, so please invite family
and friends to call their Representatives too.

Together, our voice against cuts to lung health programs is stronger.

Thank you for being part of this important effort fighting for essential lung health programs.

Please Share this Message with Your Friends and Followers

Tweet about it: Use the hashtag #callinday


To Contact President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call#call

Hi this is __________ from ____________ I am calling on behalf of [Children’s EPA] [Healthy Schools Network] [American Lung Association]  to request that Representative __________ stop cuts in funding to lung health programs in the  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
These cuts would seriously harm efforts to:
1. to reduce air pollution,
2. to find cures and treatments for lung diseases such as lung cancer,
3. to help those suffering from asthma and COPD,
4. to prevent another generation of kids from addiction to tobacco.

Use an example of work that would be harmed.  See this week's news about children required to spray pesticide at school. This product irritates skin and respiratory systems,and can harm lungs of young children http://childrensepa.blogspot.com/2013/02/use-of-hazardous-products-in-tn.html

Call your Representative today to urge a stop to the automatic cuts to federal programs that matter most to lung health  The more calls we make, the bigger the impact, so please invite family
and friends to call their Representatives too.

http://action.lung.org/site/R?i=mpDds-cgw7PrpdEEfKWfxQ

Thank you,
Nancy Swan, Director of Children's Environmental Protection Alliance known as Children's EPA

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Use of hazardous products in TN Williamson County Schools continues


Children's EPA Director, Nancy Swan, has been following the unfolding school disaster linked below for several years.  Untrained school officials given authority to purchase dangerous disinfectant and pesticides to be used by and around children is like giving a loaded gun to a five year old, or to a madman.  Similar story- http://www.toxicjustice.com  Children's EPA- http://www.childrensepa.org

Mrs. Kunz told Mrs. Swan that Tennessee Williamson County School District (Oak Grove) Oak Grove elementary school children have been required to spray and wipe cafeteria tables with an industrial product that states that the product is not to be used by children.  Mrs. Kunz writes that she witnessed the children playing with the spray and spraying it onto their skin and inhaling the product.

This product clearly states on the ready-to-use labeling that the product is an irritant and requires use of protects gowns, eye goggles, and face mask.  http://www2.hawaii.gov//hdoa/labels/8017.24_2013.pdf

For four years Mrs. Kunz, has tried to stop this practice.  She has spoken to the school board, emailed, spoke, and wrote to Williamson County school officials.  Kunz has repeatedly provided clear and convincing evidence that this product has been used by children, used inappropriately around children, and use of the product violated the products own safety requirements. Despite knowledge of the harmful use of dangerious industrial products the practice of use of the dangerous product has continued.

Williamson County School officials should not only acknowledge that they have required hazardous chemicals to be used by elementary school children, they should alert all parents in the school system about the product potential health hazards. 

FRANKLIN — A Williamson County Schools parent has had concerns about chemicals used in her son’s school for four years now.Daniela Kunz plans to speak at the county school board meeting 6:30 p.m. tonight about her worries, in addition to what she considers a failure on behalf of the district to release information under the Tennessee Open Records Act.

Read more: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013130218019
NBC TV news: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50848200#.USQAA_JvarE