Synthetic chemicals surround us. They’re in our takeout containers, children’s toys, furniture and clothes. There’s BPA in our receipts and flame retardants in our children’s car seats. You might think the government has carefully reviewed every chemical for safety before it hits the market. But it hasn’t.

In fact, there are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use today, many of which haven’t been studied for safety by any government agency.

A law now requires EPA to test tens of thousands of unregulated chemicals currently on the market, and the roughly 2,000 new chemicals introduced each year, but quite slowly. The EPA will review a minimum of 20 chemicals at a time, and each has a seven-year deadline. Industry may then have five years to comply after a new rule is made. At that pace it could take centuries for the agency to finish its review.

There are so many things that are scary to think about and we can tend to dismiss them from our minds, however, if there are a few simple things that we can do in order to help eliminate the safety risk to ourselves and those we love, why not do it.

According to an organization called The Natural Resources Defense Council - NRDC - who works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends, there is a way to stay safer every day in your home.

· Ventilate: If time, availability, or cost prevents you from selecting the best building materials, you can still reduce your exposure to unhealthy chemicals. A good home ventilation system will go a long way, but even opening windows—assuming outdoor air quality is reasonable—can help, too.

· Keep dust to a minimum: Use a wet mop on floors, dust with a damp cloth, and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Even washing hands with plain soap and water (don’t use fragranced or antibacterial soaps) before eating to remove dust can make a difference.

· Support new policies aimed at regulating toxic chemicals: “It’s unfair that consumers and builders are in this situation,” Singla says. “You’re buying materials to build your home—those materials shouldn’t be exposing you to chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive problems.” Help boost demand for healthier building materials by purchasing items deemed safe by a reputable certifier or produced by a company that discloses the ingredients it uses. Tell the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that you support the restriction of risky chemicals.

The NRDC has a dedicated staff working in more than a dozen program areas, and they partner with businesses, elected leaders, and community groups on the biggest issues the world faces today. It was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Today's leadership team and board of trustees makes sure the organization continues to work to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.

If you would like more information about this organization or even want to donate money, you can look into it at:

Source: excerpts from The Natural Resources Defense Council website and PBS News Hour

Laura Flynn, Real Estate Broker

Coldwell Banker

Downers Grove, IL

5114 Main Street

Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of the company.

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