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GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Responds to President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Emphasizes Need for Greater Protection from Toxic Chemicals

January 26, 2011

President’s push for biomedical innovation and education reform is good, but the need to protect children from toxic chemical exposure is of paramount importance

ATLANTA, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute applauds President Obama for announcing during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night that he is committed to investing in American education, biomedical research, and clean energy.

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“This tells us that the president understands the basic political, social, and economic importance of having healthy people on a healthy planet,” says Henning Bloech, GREENGUARD’s executive director. “Healthy people are better equipped to learn, excel, and innovate, which gives us a competitive edge in the growing global marketplace. The problem, of course, is that we can’t have healthy people on a healthy planet when we and our children are constantly exposed to hazardous chemicals.”

Research shows that a cocktail of industrial chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins–many of them known or suspected carcinogens and reproductive toxins–is present in the bloodstreams of American adults and children. In fact, these pollutants appear in the cord blood of infants, indicating that American babies are born “pre-polluted.” Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of chemical exposure because, pound for pound, their bodies absorb and metabolize more chemicals more quickly than adults do, and because their neurological, respiratory, and immune systems are in the critical stages of development.

Moreover, of the 80,000 chemicals in commerce today, only 200 of them have been studied for their impacts on human health. Few–if any–of the chemicals used in the manufacture of building products and materials, in particular, have been subject to federal testing and regulation. And of those that have been studied, many are still known or suspected carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and developmental toxins.

“Hazardous chemicals are found daily in our homes, offices, and classrooms,” says Bloech. “If this nation is truly committed to educating and safeguarding the health of the American people, as President Obama has said, then we’ve got to do something right now to protect ourselves from chemical exposure. The economy, healthcare, and education are all intertwined, you see. Without our health, our ability to learn is impeded; and without learning, how are we supposed to create, secure, and maintain quality jobs?”

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute urges companies to become market leaders by voluntarily eliminating toxins from their consumer products now, rather than waiting for governmental intervention. GREENGUARD also urges consumers and other purchasers to help drive change by choosing only non-toxic products.

About GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI)

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute aims to protect human health and improve quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. As an ISO-IEC Guide 65:1996 accredited, third-party organization, the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments. All certified products must meet stringent chemical emissions standards based on established criteria from key public health agencies. GREENGUARD Certification is broadly recognized and accepted by sustainable building programs and building codes worldwide. For more information and a complete listing of certified products, visit www.greenguard.org.

SOURCE GREENGUARD Environmental Institute


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