Linda Kelly signed End Dark Money: Tell the FEC to Require the Disclosure of Secret Donors During Political Campaigns 2017-05-22 11:44:27 -0700GOAL: 1,555 signatures
It's no secret that dark money is taking over our elections. And the result: "America's government is bought."
With corruption seeded in Watergate, it grew to take over the next generation with McCain-Feingold and eventually led to the Supreme Court's decision—limiting campaign spending violated the First Amendment—in 2010, according to National Journal.
"You shouldn't have to buy access to your own government." —Represent.Us
Five years after the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case changed the landscape for money in politics, we are faced with the worst—our leaders are answering to lobbyists and special-interest groups rather than we, the people. From buying access to and influence over Democratic and Republican candidates' campaigns with little transparency to reaping the benefits when it's all said and done, dark money has "perverted" the election process and changed our political system.
Now more than ever, American's have little confidence in their government. And 2016 is set to be the next big wave of dark money as the Koch brothers "pledged" to spend nearly $889 million in the upcoming presidential election.
It's time, as Americans citizens, to fight back and "put the power back in the hands of the people."
We must demand greater transparency and accountability. Many leaders claim to back an "open and honest government," now it's time we hold them to it. Let's get money out of politics and force people to vote their conscience.
Tell the FEC to write a new set of rules that better fit with the time and require the disclosure of secret donors during political campaigns—it's time we get money out of politics.
GOAL: 1,822 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to President Trump, telling him to end the U.S. policy of perpetual war.
[Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to President Trump with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
As Michael Payne puts it, “The War on Terror is not a war unto itself; it is just one facet of the larger agenda of perpetual war that this government, filled with bloodthirsty war hawks, has conducted for far too long.”
For the last 15 years America, has been engaged in perpetual war.
Our government tells us to be afraid, and that terrorist groups pose a great threat to our country. But America has played the largest role in the origin, spread, and cultivation of these terrorist groups with our constant aggressive military policies.
It is time for the United States to end this state of perpetual war, to bring our troops home, and to cease our aggressive military policies.
Please join us in telling President Trump to stop the war on terror. We need to promote peace and communication between countries, not aggressive foreign policy and military practices.
GOAL: 424 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA and Congress demanding that they pass legislation that bans fracking nationwide, permanently.
Fracking, the process of releasing natural gas by injecting huge amounts of water, chemicals and sand into shale rock formations, has become highly controversial due to its connections to multiple health problems.
The process of fracking has been found to contaminate local water supplies . Fracking has also been linked to earthquakes, such as in Oklahoma, can worsen asthma for nearby residents, and puts infants and children at risk for developing heart and lung problems.
Only 30-50% of chemicals used in fracking are recovered after the job is done. Which means the rest are left in the ground, leeching into our soil and potentially our groundwater.
Despite all this, the use of fracking continues to spread across the United States.
Fracking is causing serious health problems. Help NationofChange tell Congress that fracking needs to be banned now.
GOAL: 354 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them to enact legislation that will end unregulated healthcare pricing.
Did you know that billing rates are not set nor regulated in the healthcare industry?
Billing is determine on a case by case basis. A simple blood test can range from $10 to $400 at the same lab. Hospitalization can result in a bill that varies by thousands of dollars for the same services.
We are asking Congress to force providers to show transparency and publish legitimate pricing. This allows for healthcare providers to still set their own rates but prohibits them from charging different rates for different patients.
Hospitals especially are known for overcharging patients - especially those with no insurance. In a recent study it was found that fifty hospitals in the United States were charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care.
We need a system in which the public can search for a medical procedure online and see pricing for all providers in their area. This will save patients thousands of dollars as well as get rid of the “in network” and “out of network” system that causes confusion and costs an enormous amount of money and administrative burden every year.
Tell Congress to stop unregulated healthcare pricing, thus allowing for lower healthcare costs and an end to restrictions on patient choice.
GOAL: 1,304 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA asking them to ban the artificial sweetener aspartame until conclusive studies can be done on its effects on human health.
[Update 2/2/17: We have sent first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
Introduced into the European food supply 25 years ago, aspartame is in just about “every component of most diet beverages, sugar-free desserts and chewing gums in many countries around the world.” But no matter its name – AminoSweet, Equal, Splenda, Sweet-N-Low – the artificial sweetener’s health risks have long been debated.
Aspartame has a particularly sketchy history as an artificial substance.
Said to cause neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors and endocrine disruption, among many other health risks, aspartame was banned by the FDA before a Reagan appointee rigged a committee to approve it as a food additive in 1981. Aspartame, which was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter, a chemist who was trying to invent an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug back in 1965, is comprised of two amino acids—methanol and phenylalanine.
But according to some studies, ingesting these chemically produced amino acids can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine causing emotional disorders, such as depression, while methanol is broken down into formaldehyde in the body, which is a toxin. Researchers studied the “adverse effects of aspartame” and found it to “trigger” or “worsen” brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes.
Furthermore, the hyper-sweet additive has had adverse effects in the fight against obesity. Research proved that by creating foods with aspartame, it tricks our brains into over consuming and training the brain to crave sweets. Therefore, aspartame is contributing to the obesity problem that many countries face.
As consumers, we need to be aware of the potential dangers of artificial sweeteners and know the heath risks associated with such products. It's time to stop aspartame from entering our foods. Join the fight against artificial sweeteners and tell the FDA to ban aspartame and protect the health of human beings!
GOAL: 1,074 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the American Wind Energy Association, asking them to adopt new voluntary guidelines to help prevent bat deaths from wind turbines.
[Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the American Wind Energy Association with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
In the last ten years there has been a major epidemic of bats disappearing due to fatal white-nose syndrome and wind turbine fatalities.
Scientists believe that bats are having a hard time confusing wind turbines with trees. Last year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced “voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds, when bats are most active, which would save lives.” These new changes were expected to help reduce fatalities by 30 percent.
However, there could be more done. If the industry can hold the blades in check just a little longer bat fatalities could be reduced by 90 percent. To do this there only need to be two minor changes: feathering, or "turning the blades parallel to the wind so the turbines do not rotate," and implementing higher cut-in speeds, ideally between 5 and to 6.5 meters per second.
Please sign the petition to tell the AWEA to make these changes so that we can save 90 percent of the bats rather than just 30 percent.
GOAL: 897 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, urging them to draft a new law requiring disposable kitchenware to be biodegradable.
This month, France became the first country to ban plastic silverware, plates, and cups. Companies who produce these products will have until 2020 to make sure their products are biodegradable.
It is time for the United States to follow suit.
Plastic has become a huge problem for the earth. It takes an incredible amount of time to break down, causing high levels of plastic pollution all over the world, including places not normally inhabited by humans.
Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. 50 percent of plastic we use once and throw away. It is time for this to change.
Help us tell Congress to follow France’s lead and ban all plastic kitchenware.
Linda KellyGOAL: 2,550 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration demanding mandatory GMO labeling and the right to know what we're eating.
[Update 1/20/2017: We have surpassed 2,000 signatures! NationofChange has sent the first letter to the Obama administration with your signatures and will continue to send a letter for every 1,000 signatures we receive.]
Stand up to Monsanto and tell the Trump Administration to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling
Genetically engineered foods stock the shelves in grocery stores. But consumers' rights to know what they are eating and feeding to their families is being blocked throughout the U.S. by the biotech companies that manufacture the GE ingredients.
Sixty-four countries, and counting, currently require labels on genetically engineered foods, including Australia, Russia, China and Japan. And while the U.S. is trying to follow suit and "require transparency in genetically engineered food labeling," the FDA has yet to act.
According to the White House, a recent survey revealed that "nearly all Democrats (93 percent), Independents (90 percent) and Republicans (89 percent) support labeling of GMOs. So it is time we stop biotech companies, like Monsanto, from paying off the FDA and deceiving the public, and support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Sign the petition and tell the Trump Administration we have the right to know what we're eating.
Linda Kelly signed Tell the FDA to Cut Animal Cruelty Out of Cosmetics 2016-12-12 13:44:14 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 2,452 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, demanding they ban animal testing for cosmetics.
[Update 2/16/17: We have sent another letter to the FDA with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
While “cruelty-free testing” is mandatory in Europe, in the U.S., there are no regulations regarding the testing of cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who oversees the industry, does not approve such products before they go on the market. And according to the FDA, cosmetic authority is solely the responsibility of cosmetic manufacturers.
Therefore, to see to it that their products and the products’ ingredients are safe for human use, a majority of cosmetics are tested on animals. But as a country, we must ban animal-tested cosmetics.
Not only does moving away from animal testing make good economic and trade sense since the EU recently banned the sale of animal-tested cosmetics, it is time we protect animal rights.
With many alternatives to the commonly required safety tests, animal testing is no longer necessary.
There are sophisticated non-animal research methods which are more accurate, less expensive and less time-consuming than certain animal-based research methods. Alternatives include computer simulators and imaging techniques, epidemiological studies (studies of human populations), clinical research, in vitro research (in a test tube) and replacing animals with human cells in safety tests.
While three states—California, New Jersey and New York—passed laws mandating that available alternatives to animal tests be used, the U.S. currently has no federal law prohibiting animal testing.
With many toxic and carcinogenic ingredients found in cosmetics, not only are animals' health at risk their rights are in question. It is time we protect animals and encourage modern science in response to the interests of consumers. Tell the FDA to ban animal testing for cosmetics.
Linda KellyGOAL: 3,509 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to help stop commercial seal hunts.
[Update 3/16/17: We have sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
Baby seals are dying for no reason. Every spring, seal pups anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months old are killed, their bodies left on the ice or in the ocean.
Most commercial sealing in Canada can only exist with government subsidies. Seal products are not in demand, but sealing continues.
Please sign the petition and help us tell Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to put an end to commercial seal hunting.
As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau can work with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to buy out commercial sealing licenses and end commercial sealing.
Sign the petition and help us end this cruel practice.
GOAL: 2,505 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump Administration, demanding they take real action to end whaling in Japan.
[Update: We are sending the first letter to the Trump Administration with 2,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
In 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling was illegal. But the government of Japan continues to kill hundreds of whales each year. This is a direct violation of the ruling, which stated that the country could not continue whaling until it could prove it was for scientific purposes. The new plan for whaling in the Southern Ocean will kill almost 4,000 minke whales over 12 years, for ‘scientific’ purposes.
Japan's scientific whaling program is widely recognized as a cover for its ongoing commercial whaling operation. Additionally, a new study shows that countries that participate in lethal scientific whaling do not produce superior scientific research.
Japan has already killed 333 minke whales in the Antarctic during its 2015-2016 whaling season – including more than 200 pregnant females – as part of this year’s Antarctic whale hunt, according to the country’s Institute for Cetacean Research.
The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration fear the population of minke whales may be smaller than current estimates owing to surges in modern whaling from countries such as Japan, and that the reason for the population being currently stable is due to the hunting of other whale populations, which has created less competition for food sources.
The President of the United States has power to apply sanctions against Japan for the continued hunting of whales under the Pelly Amendment and the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment, but as of now has taken no action to prevent the needless slaughter.
Help us tell President Trump to take real action to prevent Japan from resuming whaling. Sign the petition today.
Linda KellyGOAL: 2,205 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding that the fossil fuel industry play no role in climate policymaking.
[Update 2/16/17: We have sent your letter to the Trump administration with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
Corporate influence has pervaded climate negotiations over the years in an effort to protect corporate profits. And now, the climate crisis is closer to the brink.
Not only has the fossil fuel industry interfered with climate progress, these big polluters have pushed false solutions and committed numerous environmental and human rights violations.
Scientists have warned of the “irreversible damage to our plant due to climate change” and it's time world leaders take bold action to ensure we stop extracting fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions among other solutions.
But with the fossil fuel industry and other transnational corporations standing in the way, we must remove fossil fuel industry lobbyists from climate policy.
Take action today and sign the petition to create a “precedent-setting treaty mechanism” to get a behemoth industry out of the way. Help us save the planet!
Linda Kelly signed Tell the FDA to Routinely Screen Food for Glyphosate 2017-03-26 10:21:53 -0700Linda KellyGOAL: 1,477 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the FDA, demanding routine testing of U.S. food for glyphosate residue.
[Update 3/16/17: We have sent the first letter to the FDA with 1,000+ of your signatures. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of glyphosate in a variety of oat products, including oat cereals for babies.
Recently the USDA started testing U.S. foods for glyphosate, the active ingredient used in Monsanto’s Roundup and which has been linked to cancer. Last year the World Health Organization released a report by a group of international cancer experts that stated glyphosate is a probably human carcinogen.
Despite these recent findings, Roundup continues to be the most heavily used weed killer in the world. The EPA still maintains that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer.
The current safe levels for glyphosate in oats, as suggested by the EPA, is 30 ppm. The levels detected in the findings fall within this range. In 2013 Monsanto requested and receive higher tolerances for many foods. In the European Union the tolerance levels are much lower, for example the tolerance for glyphosate in oats is 20 ppm.
Monsanto and U.S. regulators maintain that all of these findings show that glyphosate levels in our food are too low to cause any health concerns, but many believe that food will need to continue to be routinely tested to maintain safe levels. Besides that, some foods in the United States do not have a legal tolerance level. For example, honey does not have a legal tolerance level, yet when tested earlier this year every sample came back with traces of glyphosate, some with residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union.
Help us tell the FDA that they need to routinely screen foods for glyphosate and maintain low levels of contamination regardless of their stance on glyphosate being linked to cancer.
Linda Kelly signed Tell Congress: Give Regulatory Agencies Enough Funding to do Their Jobs 2016-11-22 15:51:41 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 1,606 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress, demanding that the Justice Department and other regulatory agencies receive enough funding to do their jobs.
[Update: We have surpassed 500 signatures! NationofChange is sending the first letter to Congress with your signatures attached. We will continue to send letters for every 500 signatures.]
As Robert Reich says, “It’s easy to holler at CEOs. It’s time for Congress to stop hollering and take action.”
Congress can grill CEOs about bank fraud, such as their latest questioning of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, or condemn CEOs of pharmaceutical companies for price gouging, like Mylan’s Heather Bresch, all they want but it isn’t going to change a thing.
Republicans can rage at CEOs all they want, but that doesn’t stop them from getting paid millions of dollars for hitting certain profit targets, often in shady ways.
The Justice Department needs to be given enough funding to pursue criminal charges against corporations and executives who violate the law. Other regulatory agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, needs more funding in order to police the market.
Help us tell Congress that these agencies need more funding to stop things like price gouging, fraud, and shady business practices from happening.
Linda Kelly signed Tell the EPA to Correct and Clarify Unsupported Topline Finding on Fracking 2016-11-12 09:36:34 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 993 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency demanding correction and clarification on their findings presented in the 2015 fracking study.
In June 2015, the EPA issued a 1000-page draft report about the effects fracking had on drinking water. In the report, their own Science Advisory Board (SAB) had claimed that fracking has not led to any “widespread, systemic” issue on a national level, but no “quantitative analysis” was there to support such claim.
It appears, the fracking industry and big banks are a very influential part of this controversial and unsupported draft, which is why there is so much demand for some factual answers.
Join us and over 200 other environmental groups — including Sierra Club, Indigenous Environmental Network, NRDC, Greenpeace, Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Friends of the Earth, 350.org and Clean Water Action — in demanding the EPA speak the truth about their unsupported top claim in a major fracking study from June of 2015.
GOAL: 2,034 signatures
The Koch Brothers are the poster boys for the one percent. They use their expansive wealth to further inequality in America by using various subsidiaries to lobby Washington for whatever suits them.
Their overwhelming reach makes it hard to keep tabs on just who is in their pockets. What is known is that they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in order to influence politics and legislations with the one goal of increasing their profits through decreased regulations.
They help fund numerous organizations to prepare thousands of pages of legal briefs sent to the Supreme court advocating unlimited spending on political campaigns.
The Koch Brothers’ main company, Koch Industries, has made much of their money in the oil business. In 2000 Koch Industries was fined an incredible $30 million to resolve claims related to more than 300 oil spills, with an additional $5 million to be spent on environmental projects.
They have spent more than $34 million on groups and organizations that work against workers rights. The fund Americans for Prosperity, a tea-party group that led Governor Scott Walker’s efforts against unions and workers rights. Americans for Prosperity has also fought against health care reform.
The Koch Brothers are also behind the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) which has funded such things as anti-immigration legislation.
The Koch Brothers heavily supported the passage of Citizens United, which reduced transparency and made it so that the United States government cannot restrict independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. This has been extended to for-profit corporations and labor unions, thus making it so that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money pushing for their chosen candidate(s).
We must do what we can to limit the Koch Brother’s profits. One way we can do this is by not buying products that are manufactured and/or sold by subsidiary companies owned by Koch Industries.
The following is a rough list of some of the companies and products you should avoid:
-Angel Soft Ultra
-Brawny paper towels
-Mardis Gras napkins
-Perfect Touch cups, paper products
-Sparkle paper towels
-Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels
-Georgia-Pacific Office products
-Georgia-Pacific's enMotion paper towel dispenser
-Georgia-Pacific's engineered lumber INVISTA Brands
-INVISTA’s PET polymer is used in oxygen-sensitive packaging for food and beverages.
-ADI-PURE® Adipic Acid
-ANTRON® Carpet Fiber
-DYTEK® Idea Intermediates
-FLEXISOLV® Solvent Solutions
-LYCRA HyFit® Fiber
-OXYCLEAR® Barrier Resin
-TERATHANE® Polyether Glycol
-TORZEN® PA66 Resin
Koch Fertilizer Company's AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer fertilizer products are used around the world to improve nitrogen efficiency and enhance crop productions.
Stand with NationofChange and sign the pledge to boycott all Koch Industries products.
GOAL: 824 signatures
Over the last ten years the Andersoni Moose, located in Minnesota and North Dakota, has declined by 60 percent. The Center for Biological Diversity in Minnesota warns that without protections that moose population will be extinct soon.
Yet every year more people apply for hunting licenses, regardless of severe overhunting practices. Specifically this year 202 licenses have been issued specifically for hunting the Andersoni Moose.
Please help us tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that we need to protect the Andersoni Moose, not continue to hunt and kill it at an alarming rate that is severely decreasing the population.
Linda Kelly signed Tell Congress: Don’t Cut Important School Lunch Programs for Poor Children 2016-11-08 08:55:09 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 1,576 signatures
For every 1,000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to Congress asking them not to pass The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.
U.S. lawmakers are quietly debating an important piece of legislation that greatly affects meals for schools.
As it is now, funding allows for providing free lunches and after-school meals to every student enrolled in a public school where at least 40 percent of its student body live in low-income households. The program has had “lasting positive outcomes” and “critical benefits.”
Yet now Republican lawmakers in Congress, led by Representative Todd Rokita, want to introduce The Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act that will severely cut the availability of federally subsidized lunches to hungry children in public schools.
Even with the funding provided now, lunch programs are underfunded. The $13 billion allocated to them equals out to just over a dollar per meal for cafeteria administrators to spend on ingredients.
Changing the law now would provide less funding, would remove eligibility for over 7,000 schools and 3.4 million students, and would create additional burdens of paperwork and administration work.
Please sign the petition now to tell Congress we must not cut school funding but instead increase it, to continue to provide at least some proper nutrition to the over 15 million children that lack access to consistent nutrition at home.
Linda Kelly signed Tell the Trump Administration to stop Big Oil from Completing the Dakota Access Pipeline 2016-11-14 13:34:42 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 7,955 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the Trump administration, demanding they stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
[Update 3/16/2017: We have sent the next letter to President Trump with 7,000+ of your signatures, demanding the Dakota Access Pipeline be abandoned. We will continue to send letters every 1,000 signatures. Thank you!]
UPDATE: The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline, but Energy Transfer Partners insists that they will go ahead with the project.
1,281 professionals from institutions like the Smithsonian and the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries claim that the construction work from the pipeline destroyed “ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts sacred to the Lakota and Dakota people.”
The letter reads further: “The destruction of these sacred sites adds yet another injury to the Lakota, Dakota and other Indigenous Peoples who bear the impacts of fossil fuel extraction and transportation. If constructed, this pipeline will continue to encourage oil consumption that causes climate change, all the while harming those populations who contributed little to this crisis.”
President Obama halted temporarily construction on the the $3.8bn, 1,170-mile pipeline after the Standing Rock Sioux tribe legally challenged the project. The pipeline is supposed to funnel oil from the Bakken oil Fields in the Great Plains to Illinois and run next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
We need to ensure the company abandons the pipeline on American Indian land. Sign the petition and stand with the thousands of professionals, and the Standing Rock Sioux, to tell the Trump administration to stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access pipeline for its destruction of Standing Rock Sioux lands, burial sites, and ancient artifacts that are crucial to our understanding of American heritage.
Linda Kelly signed Tell the EPA to Survey School Systems for Monsanto’s Dangerous Chemicals 2016-11-17 10:48:54 -0800Linda KellyGOAL: 486 signatures
For every 1000 signatures, NationofChange will send a letter to the EPA asking them to survey schools nationwide for PCB contamination and removing the sources of contamination from schools.
Monsanto has history with a controversial and dangerous class of chemicals known as PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, and now they are being found in schools all over the nation.
A new study from from scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that up to 14 million students in 26,000 schools in the U.S. could be exposed to unsafe levels of the highly toxic chemicals even though they were banned several decades ago.
PCBs were banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979 due to its link with birth defects and center in laboratory animals. PCBs can have adverse skin and liver effects in humans and can also linger in the environment for many decades.
According to the study:
"Decades after the PCB ban, people are still being exposed to these toxic chemicals from various sources, such as caulk, some oil-based paints, and floor finish in buildings constructed between 1950 and 1979; leaking fluorescent light ballast; old electrical equipment; and PCB-containing landfills. Most worrisome are PCB exposures for children in schools built or retrofitted during the period that PCB-containing materials were widely used. Up to 14 million students nationwide, representing nearly 30 percent of the school-aged population, may be exposed to PCBs in their schools, based on the estimated number of schools built during that time and how much PCB-containing material was used in these schools. A 2016 Harvard School of Public Health study estimates that between 12,960 and 25,920 schools have PCB-containing caulk.”
Right now schools do not test for PCB hazards and are not required to do so. If they do test and find contamination they are not required to report it to the EPA.
It is time for this to change. The EPA needs to “survey school systems nationwide and update its records to better assess the scope of potential PCB hazards in schools as well as eliminating the source of PCB exposure from our nation's schools.”