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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 Weekly for May 5, 2017

Ever wonder what your favorite Chelsea Green authors do between writing groundbreaking–both literally and figuratively–books? Here are the best links and resources for your weekend reading pleasure. Let’s start with The Alzheimer’s Antidote. The Alzheimer’s Antidote Amy Berger has been making the rounds on the health, wellness, and fitness circuit, explaining the theories behind her revolutionary […] Read More

Q&A with Kate Raworth about her radical new book, DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Q: First things first: Why did you want to write this book? A: I studied economics at university 25 years ago because I wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that economics – the mother tongue of public policy – would best equip me to do that. Instead, its theories left me […] Read More

Revisiting Naomi Wolf’s Call to Patriots–10 Years Later

Reading Naomi Wolf’s book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot today is an eerie experience. Written in 2007, it detailed the ways in which the Bush administration was beginning to chip away at the freedoms of American citizens. It outlined the ten steps dictators or would-be dictators take when their […] Read More

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
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