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LISTEN: Mark Schapiro on Holiday Health and the Chemicals in our Gifts

Mark Schapiro, editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco and author of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, spoke to host Scott Shafer of the California Report about the deadly chemicals in our toys and cosmetics.

In this clip, they delved into Schapiro’s particular area of expertise: namely, the difference between Europe’s standards and the US’s looser, more business-friendly ones. Get ready for a shock: US regulating agencies are basically a joke, the “free market” screws the American consumer again, and the only thing getting trickled down is arsenic, lead, and PVC-softening phthalates (which lead to the feminization of male fetuses, yikes!).

Scott Shafer: Now, the changes that are happening [in the European Union], and some of the changes that we’ve been talking about here in California with products like phthalates and other ingredients that are, y’know, potentially harmful to us—what impact do the changes here and the changes there have on the country, y’know, as a whole in terms of, y’know, how the industry is going to begin marketing, perhaps, different products for Europe? Are we going to be getting those products here?

Mark Schapiro: Yes, well, I think what’s very interesting is to understand that American companies have never had to obey other countries’ rules ever before. Never happened before. The rules that happened here in the United States were essentially the rules for the world. Now that’s switched. The European Union is now a larger economy than the United States. Huge change. So when the European Union now begins imposing these new environmental laws on the chemicals that they allow their citizens to be exposed to, American companies have to decide: do we want to hold on to this European market—huge market for American companies—or are we going to give it up? And so, in many cases, in many different industries, number one, there are two things happening: either some companies are actually adapting to European regulations, and we become the accidental beneficiaries of those regulations—also, by the way, the EPA becomes totally irrelevant in that situation—or, they begin to establish a line of products that will meet European standards, and other products simply for Americans that would not meet that. And that’s how we in America have become the sort of bottom end of a global double-standard.

SS: The dumping ground.

MS: The dumping ground for products that you cannot sell in Europe.

LISTEN NOW: Mark Schapiro on The California Report


Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More

Chelsea Green on Instagram: Our Most Popular Photos of 2016

What a year for Chelsea Green on Instagram! We began the year with 500 followers and are now fast approaching 4,000 photo-loving brewers, gardeners, cheesemakers, permaculturists, foodies, seed-savers, homesteaders, foragers, and more. Our most popular posts of 2016 say a lot about what makes you happy: mushrooms, innovative garden designs and techniques, tiny cabins, and […] Read More

Slack and Taut: Defining a System’s Resilience

A resilient future (or a resilient present, for that matter) needs to be slack, not taut. What do we mean? Core to the concept of a Lean Economy is understanding the need to move toward a “slack” market rather than one that is “taut.” When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left […] Read More

What’s a Carbon Sink?

World leaders met in Marrakech this month as part of COP22, to discuss the next steps to reducing global climate emissions. One of the solutions being discussed is carbon farming. Author Eric Toensmeier participated in COP22, in part, because he literally wrote a book on it. First off – what is carbon farming? It’s a […] Read More
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