Latina Environmentalist Dedicates Life to Saving the Planet for her Familia


Seguinot-Medina PBDE ACAT

At the end of her life, Samarys Seguinot-Medina hopes to say she made the world a safer place to live for the children in her family. Seguinot-Medina has known two personal truths since she was young: Nature, as well as humanity, are worth fighting for; and there are countless issues to battle — causing her to devote her time, career to promoting environmental justice and chemical safety. That is why, for almost 10 years, Seguinot-Medina and her colleagues at Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) worked to ban hazardous flame-retardant chemicals, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), in Alaska (8.9% Latino). Those efforts eventually resulted in passing Assembly Ordinance 2019-15(S), or the Toxic Free Children Ordinance, an Anchorage-wide ban of products containing those ...

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Salud America! Members Provide 80% of Comments for Safe Nail-Care Products!


California nail care

The California Department of Substance Control (DTSC) received 61 comments, 80% from Salud America! network members, that urged state regulators to remove harmful chemicals in nail-care products. The department began taking statements on February 15, asking for the public’s input on toluene — a substance linked to numerous adverse health issues. Studies and reports have shown that this chemical poses harm to those who experience long-term exposure. We asked our Salud America! network members in California to speak up for the safety of salon industry workers and consumers. The DTSC received 61 comments, 50 of which were or a variation of, Salud America! model messages. Still, the DTSC has more work to do in determining whether or not toluene should become a “priority ...

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FDA Bans Some, But Not All, Harmful Chemicals in Hand Sanitizers


Hand sanitizer

Following a two-year review of hand sanitizer ingredients, the FDA finalized a rule that bans the use of 28 harmful substances from these products. This regulation will only affect roughly 3% of sanitizers on the market, and the FDA has yet to ban three of the most common chemicals: benzalkonium chloride, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, according to CNN. FDA officials said they would continue to seek information concerning those substances. “Our action today aims to help provide consumers with confidence that the over-the-counter hand sanitizers they’re using are safe and effective when they don’t have access to water to wash with soap,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release last ...

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5 Vaccine Truths Latino Mom and Dads Need to Know


Vaccine Safety

This week, the CDC announced 555 confirmed measles cases so far this year in the U.S. — a 50% increase from last year’s total numbers. This is a result of anti-vaccination, or more commonly anti-vax, sentiments, which have been on the rise amongst American parents — despite bodies of research that dispute the claims made by anti-vax views. The facts surrounding vaccinations have been muddied because of online misinformation campaigns. In a case where two sides are at odds, it is best to ask a few questions: What are the facts? Who is presenting the information? Are those facts and presenters trustworthy? So, here are the key questions, and truths, concerning vaccinations. 1. Where Do Vaccinations Originate? In 18th Century Europe, smallpox killed roughly ...

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Houston, You Have a Chemical Fire Problem


Houston petrochemical fire

Last month, a massive cloud of black smoke covered Houston (44.5% Latino), subjecting its residents to noxious fumes and harmful pollution exposure. The fire, which burned for three days, began after an explosion at the petrochemical storage facility Intercontinental Terminals Co. While air quality was determined to be moderately safe by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the days following the explosion, Houstonians could face long-term impacts from the chemicals released into the atmosphere. "I've seen ash fall out — black pieces of ash," Jorge Guerra, who lives three miles from the site, told CBS News. “I’ve seen it on my cars, I've seen it on the front porch on the sidewalk. Does that scare you? It does, it does. What scares me more is what we don't ...

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New Jersey: 5 Companies Responsible for Contamination Cleanup 


New Jersey PFAS

Five companies now must shell out millions of dollars to clean up hazardous chemical contamination in water and other sources throughout New Jersey (20.4% Latino). The directive comes straight from the state Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and impacts five major corporations: Solvay, DuPont, Dow DuPont, Chemours, and 3M. The companies’ money will go toward the removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a manufactured, dangerous substance. “Citing near daily findings of dangerous chemicals in New Jersey’s air, land, and water, the Department of Environmental Protection is identifying five companies it says are responsible for the extensive contamination and directing them to fund millions of dollars in assessment and cleanup efforts,” NJDEP ...

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Target Aims to Simplify Clean, Healthy Shopping


Target clean label

In an effort to promote customer wellness and company transiency, Target retailers will add “clean” labeling to all products without commonly known harmful chemicals. This is another phase of the corporation’s “chemical goals,” or its plan to reduce customer exposure to hazardous substances in products on the shelves. Consumers strongly desire for transparency in their merchandise, said Christina Hennington, Target’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager of essentials, beauty, hardlines, and services. “Our guests are increasingly interested in better-for-you products, and by introducing Target Clean, we’re able to help them identify products that meet their needs and save time,” Hennington said in a statement. Latinos, who face chemical ...

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Plastic in Breast Implants Linked to Cancer Development


Breast implant issues

Last month, the FDA and health experts met to review renewed safety concerns about long-term side effects─even cancer─caused by breast augmentation. Women across the U.S. have spoken up about health complications that they believe were caused by their breast implants. Health professionals, too, are concerned about the growing number of people affected. Latinas get implants more than any other minority group. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research in Washington, D.C., analyzed past breast augmentation studies and spoke at the FDA’s conference on her findings. “Implants are not so innocent as presented,” Dr. Howard Amital, an Israeli rheumatologist who has studied this issue, told the New York Times. “There is a reason for concern. There ...

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Kids Face Risk of Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water in Schools



Children across the U.S. acquire and education through public school — they also receive lead exposure, according to new research. At least 22 states failed to protect students from water contamination, according to a study conducted by the Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Worse, only two of the 32 tested states received a B rating. Not one state made an A. Schools in states with large Latino populations also fared poorly. “It's concerning,” Julie Ma, a mother in Boston (19.4% Latino) who prepares water bottles for her kids every day, told CBS. “I really would like to get the lead out of the water supply as fast as possible for the students ... Many schools don't even know if they have it and haven't been able to make those ...

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